Nourishing Connections: A Thanksgiving Practice Meal at Prosperity Norfolk

Nourishing Connections: A Thanksgiving Practice Meal at Prosperity Norfolk

Written By: Mary Dye, MPH, RDN, CEDS-S

The delightful aroma of freshly baked pies has filled Prosperity Norfolk all week! Our clients and nutrition team have been busy baking up a storm in anticipation of our practice round for a Thanksgiving meal.

This week, clients and the nutrition team have been busy in the kitchen, preparing for a special practice round of a Thanksgiving meal. At Prosperity Norfolk, this annual tradition serves a purpose beyond the joys of sharing and eating delightful food; it’s a compassionate initiative to support those dealing with eating disorders as they navigate the challenges of a food-centric holiday.

Creating a Safe Space

Thanksgiving can be a daunting day for individuals struggling with eating disorders. To ease this potential distress, Prosperity Norfolk hosts a practice meal, bringing together clients and staff to simulate the atmosphere of a festive gathering. Extra chairs are pulled up, and leaves adorn the tables, creating a communal space where the noise, stress, and stimulation (as well as laughter!) of a typical Thanksgiving can be experienced and managed. This inclusive approach aims to help our clients navigate these situations and create their own peace and calm, figuring out what boundaries and coping skills work best for each of them.

Crafting a Supportive Meal

Guiding the culinary experience is our chef, Savannah Dyer, whose thoughtful planning ensures the menu reflects the diverse array of foods clients might encounter on Thanksgiving Day. This practice meal becomes an opportunity for clients to practice choosing and portioning from a wide spread of dishes. The focus extends beyond just the culinary aspect; it becomes a platform for using and developing coping tools and skills that will prove beneficial on the actual holiday.

Developing Coping Skills

During the practice meal, clients are encouraged to explore various coping tools and skills. The aim is for each individual to identify what works best for them in navigating the complexities of a Thanksgiving gathering. From setting boundaries to employing mindfulness, the meal serves as a training ground for the real challenges they might face.

A Mindful Finishing Touch

The practice meal finishes with attention turning to the beautifully prepared pies. As clients savor each bite, they are guided in mindful eating, acknowledging not just the flavors and textures but also the emotions tied to the experience. This moment emphasizes the idea that food is more than just nutritional content; it’s a shared experience that fosters connection and support.

Food as Connection

This day and this meal remind us all that food is more than just nutritional content. It’s the experience of sharing in a way that is flexible and supportive, binding us to one another. Inviting and joining fellow humans at a table signals comfort, safety, and inclusion. At our table, all are welcome. Eating disorder behaviors are not! We are here to support each other in reconnecting to the joy, gratitude, and welcome that only the act of fully sharing a meal together can bring.

Virginia’s Boutique Eating Disorder Treatment Center


At Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center, we are dedicated to providing evidence-based, individualized treatment for eating disorders across all age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.

Our approach addresses psychological, nutritional, emotional, and relational needs, guiding individuals toward a full recovery. We specialize in treating a range of disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia, EDNOS, Orthorexia, and Binge Eating Disorder.

Take the first step towards recovery with Prosperity Eating Disorders & Wellness Center today!

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