Turkey day is right around the corner. Just saying that makes most of us salivate. We can’t help but think of the nostalgic comfort foods unique to our family table. For myself, it would be melt-in-your-mouth turkey, buttery mash potatoes, sweet and savory stuffing, green bean casserole, Brussel sprouts, soft rolls with butter, and pumpkin or apple pie with a scoop of ice cream (because you must have both options, right?). If you weren’t salivating before, you have to be now.
All this delicious food usually takes front and center stage on Thanksgiving. However, we shouldn’t forget to practice an essential skill, mindfulness. The very mission of Thanksgiving (in the 21st century) is to acknowledge all that we are thankful for. Our family and friends, the roof over our heads, the success we’ve experienced professionally, and the list goes on. By doing this, we are, in a way, practicing mindfulness. So this year, let’s try to be thankful for our meal by being mindful about how we consume it.
How do we practice mindful eating? Though there are no universal standards, we should try implementing practices during our eating times that allow us to appreciate the food we eat. For myself, that means turning on smooth jazz, sitting down at a table, slowing down my eating speed, and enjoying all the sensory perceptions I have during a meal (sight, sound, smell, taste, and feel). It is also important to acknowledge and embrace the environment around us, whether alone or around a crowded table.
There are many different ways to practice mindful eating. Here are a few tips for you to try this Thanksgiving:
3. Balance your plate. Use your eyes to create a well-rounded meal that is nutrient-dense. Instead of filling up your entire plate with mash potatoes and stuffing, have, for example, turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, and Brussel sprouts each take up ¼ of your plate. Ensuring you get enough carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber will help you feel more satisfied with your meal.
4. Slow down and eat with all your senses. Once you have balanced your plate, make sure to slow down and take time to be thankful for the meal in front of you. Look at the food, smell the lovely aromas mixing together, take a bite and pay attention to how it feels in your mouth. Try to remember the ingredients that went into making each recipe as you taste it.
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!