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  • Kelly Neilson, MDA, RD, LD

5 ways to have a more mindful Thanksgiving

intuitive eating thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday in the U.S. of gathering, gratitude, and making memories.

You have the right to have the kind of Thanksgiving meal you WANT to have without any guilt or shame. -–If that means totally immersing yourself in the experience and eating way more than you normally do, or listening to your body to eat enough to be satisfied—you deserve to not feel guilty about it.

If eating intuitively and listening to your body is the experience you would like to have, here are some tips to help you to be as intuitive as possible:

1) Don’t skip breakfast! Many people try to fast in the morning so they’ll be “ready” for Thanksgiving and can justify overeating or binging. This will only make it more likely that you will overeat; you’ll feel sick from eating too much and you’ll probably eat more for the entire day than you would have if you had eaten throughout the day.

2) Look over the buffet and figure out all that’s available before you start dishing up. That way you can make a plan of what you want to eat, instead of continuing to add foods to your plate as you see them. Choose what is actually appealing to you, not necessarily the things that are lowest in calories.

3) Be mindful and aware while you eat—eat slower so you can take time to appreciate the colors, flavors, textures, and temperatures of each food. This will increase your overall satisfaction and you won’t feel the need to keep eating and eating.

4) Don’t immediately load up with seconds just because it’s there. Take a moment to assess how you really feel. If you’re still hungry, by all means—get a second helping of whatever your favorite was! But if you’re full, it’s okay to wait until snack time to have dessert or leftovers. You’ll probably enjoy them more, and they will taste better when you’re not as full.

5) Enjoy the holiday! It doesn’t have to be about the food (even though that is a very important delicious part of it). Enjoy the gathering of friends and family, focus on what you’re grateful for, play games, and watch classic Christmas movies.

Be compassionate with yourself if you do happen to eat more than expected, don’t lay on the guilt! It is Thanksgiving after all, and one meal, or one day is not going to ruin your body or your health.

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