Main Article: Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Main Article: Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Written by Cheyenne Watts | Reviewed by Alyssa Tucci MS, RDN, CDN

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, 

knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better 

than your current situation.” --Brian Tracy


The holiday season is fast approaching, and people everywhere will begin to gather with 

their friends, families, co-workers and fellow community members to celebrate all that they 

are thankful for. With Thanksgiving coming up in only a few short weeks, we begin to think 

about two things: 


First, we think of the massive feast. The feast that we will share with our loved ones, eating 

until we practically burst because each dish is so colorful and smells so delicious. If there 

are four different types of pie then, by golly, you will have a slice of each. We wouldn’t want 

the pecan pie to feel left out, now would we? For hours you will stuff yourself with rich, 

buttery, creamy mashed potatoes and golden, juicy turkey meat until finally you retire to the 

sofa and enter a food coma. 


Second, we begin to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. Thanksgiving is all 

about giving thanks- it says so right there in the name! There are many reasons to be 

thankful for everything with which we are blessed. Studies link gratitude to a stronger 

immune system, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, reduced risk of heart disease, 

and better kidney function, according to The Greater Good Science Center at the University 

of California, Berkeley. Research by Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California, 

Riverside, and others has found that grateful people experience more optimism, joy, 

enthusiasm, and other positive emotions, and they have a deeper appreciation for life’s 

simple pleasures. 


So, what do the feast and gratitude have in common? Not much, you may think, but 

perhaps by appreciating all with which we are blessed and all we have accomplished, we 

will be mindful of how we eat at holiday meals. 


Consider your recent accomplishments in your endeavor to live a healthier lifestyle. You 

may have found foods that make you feel more comfortable and energetic, you may have 

shed a few pounds, you may have made time to exercise every day, you may have put on 

some lean muscle. By acknowledging your successes, you may be more likely to make 

good choices while piling your plate with good eats at Thanksgiving dinner. If we think 

about how far we have come in the past year, we may be less likely to eat those four pieces 

of pie. 


This does not mean you should not enjoy a piece of pie, or any holiday dish for that matter. 

Gratitude will help us eat mindfully. Please, enjoy the food that you and your family have 

prepared together as a group. With each bite, be grateful for all the complex flavors, 

recognize the richness of the foods, chew each bite carefully, and savor the flavors slowly 

because “it can take 15-20 minutes after food is first eaten, for the full range of satiety 

signals to reach the brain,” according to the British Nutrition Foundation. Not only will 

savoring each bite be more enjoyable and give us more to be grateful for, but eating slowly 

will also prevent us from overeating before we feel satiated. 


Keep gratitude in mind this holiday season. Remember all you are thankful for. Savor each 

bite of food and enjoy each moment spent with your loved ones. And always remember to 

think of your accomplishments as well as who helped you achieve them. Happy Holidays!


Compass Nutrition