4 Tips for Mindful Eating on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday seasons. It’s the time of year for great food, good times with family, and celebration. However, many people struggle with eating mindfully on Thanksgiving. It can be so easy to get tempted by the abundance of delicious food and overeat. Instead of regretting your decisions at the Thanksgiving table, follow these tips to keep yourself in check and be more mindful during this year's meal.

  1. Be sure to eat breakfast:  Many people skip breakfast on Thanksgiving to “save up” for the big holiday dinner. They think that skipping one meal will compensate for having a heavy dinner, so that they don’t gain weight. In reality, skipping breakfast means that you will feel very hungry by dinnertime and be more likely to overeat. If you arrive to dinner satiated, you will be less likely to stuff yourself. You can make more controlled and conscious decisions when you’re not starved—which means you can choose healthier options, or pick the one or two foods that you enjoy the most.

  2. Use portion control:  It’s easy to quickly fill your plate with mounds of food when you’re faced with so many options. Next time, try taking a small portion of each food. This gives you a variety of foods to eat, without eating more than you need to feel full. As you taste each dish, observe what the food looks and smells like. Also, notice any emotional reactions you have and take note of how full you are. You can slow down your rate of eating, feel more present during the meal, and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast simply by controlling how much food you put on your plate.

  3. Check in with yourself: Another helpful tip is to use a scale to identify how hungry or full you feel during the day. A 1 means you are feeling starved, while 10 means that you can’t take another bite. Try to stay in the middle range of the scale, so you can appreciate the taste and fully digest your food. It’s important to use this scale throughout the day because it’s a long day of eating. Eat until you feel satisfied in the moment. Check in with yourself later, and only go back for seconds you’re hungry again.

  4. Savor your meal: We enjoy food the most when we are hungry. When eating mindfully, you may notice that the pumpkin pie tastes delicious on the first bite, yet starts to feel too sweet as you keep eating. There’s usually a point when the food is no longer as tasty as it first was. By eating mindfully, you can determine when you are not relishing the dish anymore. At that point, consider taking a break from your meal for a few minutes or being done with your dish altogether. Instead of overfilling your stomach, try to only eat as much as you need to in order to feel full.

Thanksgiving is centered around food, family, and gratitude. This year, try to savor every bite, instead of overindulging during your Thanksgiving feast. Take advantage of this time to practice mindful eating and mindfulness throughout the day. This will help you can pace yourself and feel present with your friends and family. Have a happy Thanksgiving! :)