Mindful Choices At The Table

A family gathers for a nourishing holiday dinner


The holiday season is a time for gratitude, family, and, of course, feasting. As we gather around the table to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, it's easy to get carried away with the irresistible spread of dishes. However, there's a way to enjoy holiday meals and gatherings without feeling like you need to unbutton your pants afterward. In this blog post, we'll explore a mindful approach to holiday feasting that allows you to savor every moment of this cherished time while making small, intentional choices that promote both physical and mental well-being.

Pre-Feast Vinegar Drinks

Before a large holiday meal begins, consider starting with a different kind of cocktail – a wellness cocktail! Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar prior to meals slows our absorption of starches and decreases the spike in blood sugar. The sour flavor also primes the pancreas to release digestive enzymes. You can have fun with this tip by making a vinegar spritzer.  Just add 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar, 1 tbs of lemon juice, some crushed mint to a glass with ice and then top it off with seltzer.

Mindful Choices at the Table

Now, let's move on to the main event: the holiday dinner table. While the variety of dishes might be overwhelming, there are mindful choices you can make that will allow you to savor the flavors without going overboard:

Portion control: Fill your plate with small servings of your favorite dishes, allowing you to taste everything without overloading your plate. Remember, you can always go back for seconds if you're still hungry.

Start with the veggies: Eat the vegetables on your plate first to slow the absorption of glucose and to help fill you up before you move onto the starchy sides.

Savor the moment: Take your time to eat, chew your food thoroughly, and engage in conversation with your loved ones. This not only enhances the dining experience but also helps you recognize when you're full.

Mindful indulgence: It's okay to enjoy your favorite indulgent treats, but do so consciously. Instead of mindlessly devouring dessert, take a moment to appreciate the flavors and textures.

Post-Meal Strolls

After the a big meal, it's tempting to collapse onto the couch and enter into a food coma. But this year, consider going for a post-meal stroll. A leisurely walk with family and friends can aid digestion and improve overall well-being. It's an opportunity to enjoy the crisp air and engage in meaningful conversations, helping you feel more balanced and refreshed.

Gratitude and Reflection

The holiday season is not just about the food; it's a time for gratitude and reflection. Take a moment to go around the table and share what you're thankful for or something you are looking forward to in the coming year.  Expressing gratitude and hopefulness can promote a positive mindset and help you appreciate the true meaning of the holiday season.


This holiday season, embrace a mindful approach to feasting that allows you to savor every moment without overindulging. From vinegar drinks to mindful choices at the table, and post-meal strolls, these small, intentional choices can elevate your holiday experience. Nourishing traditions not only nurture your body but also your soul, making the holiday all the more meaningful. So, gather your loved ones, give thanks, and enjoy the feast mindfully. Happy holidays!

Author: Dr. Jeffrey is a first year resident and clinic supervisor at Bastyr University Clinic.