How to Eat Mindfully this Thanksgiving

element5-digital-431549.jpg

The holidays are just around the corner! They’re the time for great food, good times with family, celebration, and perhaps some stress as well. One thing that many people struggle with during this time of year is eating mindfully on Thanksgiving. With the abundance of delicious food at your family gather, it can be easy to overindulge and overeat. Here are some tips to help you keep yourself in check and be more mindful during this year's holiday meal.

            Remember to eat breakfast:  Many people skip breakfast on Thanksgiving to “save up” for the big holiday meal. But skipping breakfast means that by dinnertime, you will feel very hungry and be more inclined to overeat. If you arrive to dinner satiated, you will be less likely to stuff yourself with the first food you see. 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 are most appealing to you.

            Use portion control:  With all of the different options available, it can be easy to pile mounds of food on your plate. Next time, try taking a small portion of each food. As you taste each dish, observe what the food looks and smells like, 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.

            Check in with yourself: Use a scale to identify how hungry or full you feel throughout the day. A 1 means you are feeling famished, 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. Remember: it’s a long day of eating. Eat until you feel satisfied for now and go back for seconds only if you are hungry again later.

            Enjoy your meal: We savor food the most when we are hungry. When eating mindfully, you may notice that the pumpkin pie tastes delicious on the first bite, and starts to feel too sweet as you go on. There usually comes a point in the eating experience when the food is not as enjoyable as it first was. By eating mindfully, you can determine when you are not relishing the food anymore. At that point, consider taking a break from your meal for a few minutes or being done with your dish altogether. Try to only eat as much as you need to, instead of overfilling your stomach with food.

            Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around food, family, and appreciation. This year, consider focusing more on family time and savoring every bite, instead of overindulging during your Thanksgiving feast. Take advantage of this time to practice mindful eating and mindfulness throughout the day—that way, you can pace yourself and feel present with your friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving! :)