How a Mindful Dietitian Celebrates Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays- I mean come on people we are celebrating FOOD!
But it is not without it's share of stressors. Prep, shopping, getting all of the dog hair out of the kitchen, in-laws, family drama, and the list can go on and on. This time last year I had a shell of a kitchen and my stove was "in transit" for 2 weeks (It did not arrive on donkeys after all). As the chief cook and bottle washer around here I am responsible for 99% of the meal. I am incredibly thankful for my sister's yearly contribution of the cranberry sauce- it's a super big help! So how do I stay on top of it, keep up with business, and still manage to enjoy the day?
I don't strive for perfect. I expect there to be something that goes awry and I have learned to be ok with the imperfections that come with this messy life. Somewhat. Mostly. One way or another we always have a meal of some kind, we always have some laughs, and we always do it again next year. So maybe just remember that the imperfections in life are what makes it special.
How do I stay mindful with all the tempting favorite foods in a time of overindulgence? I plan. Here are my 3 best practices for staying on track on Thanksgiving Day.
1. Downsize the plates and service utensils. Use Your plates as charges and stack sandwich plates on top in colorful or decorative patterns. Not only is it Martha-Stewart-Awesome but no one notices the downsize and portions are smaller. Same thing goes for the serving spoons and platters. So go ahead and fill-er-up, only you will know it is 10% less.
2. Upsize the "healthy" stuff. Use your big bowls for veggies and heathier items, encouraging bigger portions. Rich foods like sweet potato casserole can be served in multiple smaller bowls scattered around the table. Place rolls on multiple plates in between guests with 2-3 on each, just enough for the number of people that can reach the plate to have 1 each.
3. Pick your battles. We all have that one relative that brings the dish that we wait for every year. When I was a kid it was mom's stuffing. It was literally a Thanksgiving miracle- perfectly seasoned, exact right combo of crunchy and chewy, and only served for approximately 30 seconds on Thanksgiving before the platter was crumbs and fond memories. Then there are the foods we have every week- think mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. Before you dig in take a mental inventory, set some priorities, and savor the foods that are the most special first, come back for the every day stuff later if you are still hungry.
The most important thing that you can do is have a plan, set an intention, and stick to it!