Extending the mealtime thanksgiving after November
No matter how you celebrated Thanksgiving in the COVID year of 2020, the holiday remains a great opportunity for Americans to appreciate what they have – health, loving support systems, and the bountiful meal in front of them. It feels good to recognize the good fortune of a balanced meal, so how can we extend that gratitude past Thanksgiving and into our daily meals? Read below for a few ideas!
- Do just that – express gratitude for each meal before you eat. This can be in the form of prayer, or simply acknowledging all components that allowed the food to be in front of you: the sun for growing our food, the farmers that harvested it, the grocery store workers that kept the shelves stocked, anyone at home that worked hard to afford a lovely meal, and anyone else that helped prepare it with/for you. Bonus points if you’re the only one that applies to – great job at taking care of yourself to have a meal to be thankful for!
- Find the beauty in the meal in front of you. Appreciate each color- how many different hues are on your plate? The more colors we have in our diet, the more diverse nutrients we’re consuming. Consider the presentation. Did the chef or your partner intentionally make the meal look extra appetizing? That deserves to be recognized! Check off every food group your meal has – are you nourishing yourself with veggies, protein, and a healthy carb like brown rice or a baked potato?
- Give back. So much of the holiday season is about giving, and to some that includes passing along what they can to the less fortunate. Thinking about those that don’t have as much, and providing them with an opportunity to have a filling meal, may help us better appreciate the food on our plate at the end of the day.
- Consider experimenting with 1 day or meal per week that’s meat-free. This will not only inspire us to find new protein sources like beans, tofu, or seitan (in “crumbles” form, it works as a perfect ground beef substitute in tacos!), but also may help us consider how many animal products we consume on a regular basis. Yes, we are at the top of the food chain, but that doesn’t mean the only purpose of gentle cows or playful pigs is to feed us. At a meatless meal, think about the positive qualities of animals – from your family dog to a baby cow.
- Eat mindfully. We can savor each bite by eating more slowly and concentrating on each component – the taste, texture, mouthful, and temperature. By putting our fork down between bites and taking more time and effort to appreciate the nuances of the meal, we can fully enjoy and be thankful for it.
I hope you continue to enjoy a lovely holiday season and continue to find things in your life to be thankful for!
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– Samantha Marks, RD, LDN