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Healthy Thanksgiving: Mindful Eating

Thanksgiving is coming up this week, which often marks the beginning of an overindulgent holiday season. However, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean weight gain or strict restraint; there is a way to keep this holiday enjoyable and healthy. To start, don’t skip breakfast to save room for supper. Skipping meals earlier in the day can mean we come to the dinner table overly hungry. Being overly hungry often makes us want to eat quickly and with little thought about how a food tastes or how our body feels as we are eating. If our body feels like it’s starving by the time we reach the Thanksgiving meal, we will be much less likely to be mindful of our body’s satiety signals and much more likely to overeat, becoming uncomfortably full by the end of the meal. Ensuring our body receives regular, balanced meals leading up to dinner helps us slow down and be more mindful of how pleasurable foods taste and how our body feels as we are eating them.

At Thanksgiving, we often have an overload of food options and end up with a heaping plate filled with some foods we really like and others we may not want to finish. When we fill our plate, we often feel a need to eat all of the food on it, even the foods we may not really want. This can also lead to overeating and a less enjoyable meal experience. Rather than filling up your plate with large portions of food, begin with a small amount of the foods you want to try and then go back for seconds if you are still hungry.

While food is often the first thing we think of when we talk about Thanksgiving, it is important to take time to enjoy all parts of the holiday, like spending time with family and friends. Being mindful at Thanksgiving can help you better enjoy the foods of the holiday by savoring them and preventing uncomfortable fullness by listening to your body’s needs. But if you find yourself overeating this holiday, don’t allow it to take your joy away. Be kind to yourself and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

Cone Health understands the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to increase and ensure overall well-being, and has an exceptional team of dietitians, physicians, nurses and other related health care providers dedicated to educating our community on proper nutrition and other beneficial lifestyle choices.

Spokesperson Background:

Melissa Leonard, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian at Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Education Services in Greensboro. Leonard received her Bachelor of Science in human nutrition and dietetics and her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also received a post-baccalaureate certificate in gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed a dietetic internship with Morrison Healthcare.

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