This weekend, you will probably be enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving feast with your family. I can’t wait to sit by the fire at my parents house, have a glass of wine and catch up with my family. But let’s be honest, we are MOST excited for the food. Right?! Oh, the delicious Thanksgiving comfort foods that we all love so much. Turkey, stuffing, yams, gravy, roasted veggies, pumpkin pie… my mouth is literally watering as I write this. YUM.
What tends to happen during holidays like this though, is that we enjoy food a little TOO much. You know- when you have to unbutton your pants at the end of your meal and then swear to yourself that you’ll never eat again? We’ve all been there.
Believe it or not, you can still enjoy and savour your favourite foods without feeling like you’re going to burst afterwards, if you can practice some simple mindful eating techniques.
Here’s how (these tips are great for kids too!):
1. Spoil your appetite on purpose:
Even if just a little bit. Take the edge off of your ravenous appetite by having a healthy snack before you head out to your dinner, or as you’re preparing it. You’ll feel more in control when you serve up and while you’re eating. You’ll likely eat slower because you won’t be desperately trying to fill your painfully empty stomach, and because of this, you’ll probably be able to stop yourself when you are comfortably full.
2. Ditch the “last supper” mentality:
Many of us feel as though “we need to get it in NOW” because we only get the chance to eat these foods two or three times a year. News flash. You can eat these foods at ANY time of the year! Yep- Turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, pumpkin pie- they are all readily available 365 days of the year. If you go into a meal with the mindset that you will be deprived of these foods in the future, you will most certainly overeat.
3. Practice portion control:
Because your eyes are likely bigger than your stomach, it’s important to underestimate how much you’ll eat rather than overestimate. Serve yourself a little bit less than you think you may need and then reevaluate whether you want a second portion when you’re done. Chances are, you’ll decide that you’ve had enough. Because most of us are programmed to eat what is in front of us, this tip serves as a good reminder to tune in to our natural hunger and fullness cues.
4. Don’t fall victim to the see-food syndrome:
One of the biggest triggers for eating is the sight of food. In fact, when you look at delicious food, your brain automatically signals to your pancreas to release insulin- a hormone that triggers hunger. So even if you’re not actually hungry, the sight of food may trick you into eating. To avoid this, take food platters off the table after everyone has served up. That way, you’re not gazing at delicious food for hours on end, and you can make a more mindful decision about whether or not you should eat more.
5. Don’t hesitate to say “no thank you”:
I find that most women are hesitant to say “no thank you” to an extra portion, a side dish, dessert, coffee, tea, etc. because they are afraid that they might offend the host. You are still a gracious guest if you say “no, thank you”. No one will be offended, I promise! If you don’t care for a particular food, it’s ok not to eat it. If you’re feeling comfortably full, it’s ok to turn down another portion. If you don’t really like pumpkin pie or you just don’t feel like having any, it’s ok to say “it looks delicious, but I’m just going to let my dinner settle in” or something along those lines. You, and only you, get to make the decisions about what and how much food you eat.
Did you know that we offer personalized nutrition counselling for kids and families? If this is something you’d like to learn more about, please visit The Centre for Family Nutrition.