THE BLOG
09/02/2014 10:22 am ET | Updated Nov 02, 2014

Is Food the Background Music to Your Life?

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Ahhh Labor Day! Burgers, family and friends, picnics, swimming, potlucks, relaxing, grilling... I'll share some links to a few of our family's favorite recipes, but first, take a moment to notice what pops into your mind when you think about Labor Day.

If you're like most of us, it's easy to confuse holidays with food. In fact, for many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer barbecues and the beginning of holiday eating. Before your bathing suit dries, we'll be sorting through the kid's Halloween candy while they're at school, baking cookies, and planning traditional family meals.

I love all that but a special occasion mentality often leads to overeating, discomfort, and guilty thoughts of a New Year's resolution looming just around the corner. It's as if the holidays have become an excuse for people to eat foods they aren't allowed to have at other times.

Another challenge is that "special occasions" are almost a daily occurrence in modern day. Remember reading Little House on the Prairie and Laura's excitement over finding an orange in her stockings on Christmas morning? Now we eat out frequently, go to happy hour, and bring donuts in for our co-workers, yet still use these daily events as a reason to overeat. As one of our Am I Hungry? workshop participants put it, "Food has become the background music to my life! It sets the mood but I hardly pay attention to it anymore."

Mindful eating helps put food into its proper context. By becoming mindful of our connections with food and more intentional about connecting with the present experience of eating, food returns to a lovely way to bring pleasure into our lives. Mindful eating also helps us recognize when eating has become our primary source of pleasure. Finding that delicate balance may be even more challenging, but also more important during the coming holidays when delicious food is everywhere.

So when food is the main event, allow it to be a symphony (or a rock concert if you prefer), not the background music. Just remember to ask yourself, "If this occasion is so special, why would I want to ruin it by eating too much?"

Alright, now back to the food... Here are four of our family's favorite recipes for a perfect summer BBQ!

Labor Day BBQ Menu

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Appetizer: Grilled Veggie Platter

Salad: Spinach Orzo Salad with Lemon Dressing

Main Course: Chipotle Portobello Burger

Dessert: Toasted Angel Food Cake with Berries and Fresh Whipped Cream

Make beautiful music this Labor Day weekend!