Six Tips to Help You This Year
Let’s face it. Thanksgiving only comes once a year. I don’t think it’s necessary to have to alter your tasty family recipes. Some people have found healthier recipes and truly enjoy them! For me, I only have them a few times a year, so my approach to Thanksgiving is a little different. I’ve found that if I can be strategic for other meals during the day, stay mindful during dinner, and move, I don’t have problems feeling like I’ve fallen off track with my nutrition goals. Plus, I don’t feel guilty for enjoying my dinner!
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Many people will often skip this meal to save calories for the Thanksgiving feast. I’ve found it can increase my food cravings and cause me to overeat.
Action Steps: eat a breakfast filled with protein and vegetables the morning of Thanksgiving. Skip the carbs – you’ll enjoy them at dinner!
My two favorites: a protein shake with sauteed vegetables OR a veggie omelet.
Exercise the Morning of Thanksgiving
It’s simple: eat more, move more. This will help jumpstart your metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day. I love to mix in a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
Action Steps: find a way to move. It doesn’t need to be the perfect workout, just move.
Don’t Forget Lunch
Again, it’s best to eat throughout the day to keep our metabolism running. Don’t skip any meals on Turkey day. I know for me, when I skip meals, it usually leads to a disaster of overeating. Also be thinking of how you can keep yourself hydrated. My goal is to drink at least two liters of water before dinner.
Action steps: Drink plenty of water. Choose a lunch filled with protein and vegetables.
My favorites: a salad with tuna or chicken, pickled asparagus wraps with a side salad, or leftovers if available.
For your Thanksgiving meal, choose your favorite carbohydrates
Sweet potato casserole only comes twice a year for me. Therefore, I know I’m going to add that to my plate. However, the dinner roll? It’s more of a filler. Skip the carbs you don’t really love to save on calories. Again, visualize your dinner plate to measure the appropriate amount of carbs to eat. Focus on three to four bites of your favorites, especially if you’ll be enjoying dessert.
My favorites: Sweet potatoes, a few bites of regular potatoes, pretzel salad and stuffing. If I can keep portion sizes small, I get to enjoy the taste without feeling stuffed.
- Create a veggie platter for munchies as you work on food preparation and pre-dinner socializing.
- Choose to alter your dipping sauce – pick hummus over fattening dips
- If you catch yourself socializing and eating mindlessly, socialize away from the food. It works!
- Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds. It takes 10-20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full. If you’re a fast eater especially, wait at least 10 minutes before thinking about wanting seconds.
- Eat slow and enjoy every bite. This will help recognize you’re full faster. Ask yourself if you can taste all the flavors. To help you eat less, engage in conversation and set down your fork with every bite.
My favorite trick: chew your food thoroughly! I used to chomp, chomp, then swallow. When I took the time to really chew, my eating speed slowed down tremendously.
- Drink water with your meal.
If you need to take a nap shortly after your Thanksgiving meal, you know you’ve eaten too much.
Choose what tips will work best for you this holiday. I know for me, when I take a step back and pay attention to my eating speed and listening to when I’m satisfied, I eat less. Plus, it helps to start with a smaller serving so I don’t feel uncomfortably full from overeating. Each year I’ve worked on this, I’ve gotten better and better at not overdoing it.