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Thankful and Mindful of Our Food

Give thanks for what we have. Then make your plan to make the most of it.

Updated 11/2020

At a food waste presentation I gave recently, a student shared that she was so concerned about food waste that she would rather run out of groceries than waste food.

Meanwhile in America, 37 million people are faced with hunger.

These scenarios exist in the same country. It’s a bit of a mind boggler, isn’t it? As we approach Thanksgiving, these separate (but related) thoughts are on my mind.

Thankful: conscious of benefit received, well pleased, glad.


We worry about too much. We worry about too little.

What if we decide to stop worrying and come up with a plan?

Strike a balance.

Here are three typical holiday food scenarios and some options for how to handle them:

  1. Holiday decadence. Choose special holiday foods in place of your usual fare. It gets tricky if you just add to what you normally do instead of shifting your meals to accommodate. Swap. Not add.
  2. Random food. Maybe someone mails you a treat. Perhaps you get a gift card for a restaurant. Don’t skip the things you love. Do be realistic about balance. Each meal and snack offers the opportunity to pair different foods together for a great mix of nutrients. High calorie plays well with low calorie. High fat can be friends with low fat. I am way oversimplifying things here, but you get the point. Pair fried foods with grilled, baked or steamed foods. It’s not about avoiding the unexpected. It’s about knowing how to handle and balance it.
  3. Someone else is cooking. Plan on enjoying your favorite traditional foods, not feeling bad about wanting to eat them. Fill your plate with a serving of “all” your favorite dishes and enjoy them. Then move on. If you need or want seconds? Take them intentionally. If you are full and satisfied, that’s ok, too! You’ll get back on track at the next meal when the “party food” is done.

Fit fitness in! Take a walk before or after your meal, or simply walk up and down your stairs a few times. Dance in the kitchen. Have some fun and enjoy the movement, whatever that may be.

Remember to eat balanced meals before and after decadent party meals to keep the mix of nutrients we humans need on the menu.

Party food at the party is a yes. Just remember there isn’t a party all day every day. 😉

Remember how lucky we are for our food supply chain and all the wonderful people within it.

Perhaps when we sit at our next meal, we can take a moment to be thankful that so many worked so hard for us to have the delicious meal before us.

What are you most thankful for this year?

grateful thanksgiving
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.