It’s that time of year again: We’re mourning the loss of summer and gearing up for the winter. On the bright side, we have Thanksgiving to look forward to and all the delicious food that comes along with it. That being said, amidst all that excitement, it can be hard to avoid that thought of “how can I be healthy during this holiday?”
So we put together a list of helpful tips on “How to get through this Thanksgiving without feeling like a stuffed turkey”
It can be tempting to skip breakfast and lunch in order to save calories for Thanksgiving dinner. Please don’t do this. By not eating all day, you are likely to arrive to the feast feeling starving and as a result, you’re a lot more likely to overeat. It’s harder to make wise choices about food when you want to eat everything in front of you. Aim to feel hungry enough that you are looking forward to eating, but not too hungry that you can’t concentrate on conversation because you are too focused on food.
We live in an age where portion sizes have completely exploded. We don’t really need to eat that much food. Take small portions of food on your plate, and if there is an option – choose a small plate so the food looks bigger. If you start small, you can always take more later. But if you take large portions, it might be harder to refuse the food on your plate. There is no need to miss out on your favorite dishes, just take less of them. The only exception to this rule is veggies: feel free to take large portions of cooked veggies or salad!
Think of your plate in three different sections. Fill half of it with veggies, a quarter with protein (think turkey, turkey and turkey), and a quarter carbs (pumpkin pie, stuffing, potatoes, cornbread…yes we know there are a lot of options in this category). If you’re in charge of dinner, or bringing food along – you can try to jazz up some of the classic carby sides by making them more veggie-oriented such as green beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower pie or roasted carrots.
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are satisfied. If you chew your food slowly, put your knife and fork down in between bites, and chat to your cousin sitting next to you – you are more likely to feel fuller after less food. Chewing slowly is better for your digestion and you will probably enjoy the taste a lot more. Take notice of the slowest eater at the table and try to match his/her pace. This will also give you some time to think before taking seconds.
Avoid any sugary drinks, fruit juice included! Stick with water, water with lemon, water with lime, seltzer with mint… you get the idea. If you feel like a glass of wine, stick with just 1 glass, sip it slowly and try adding some seltzer so that you get more for less.
Exercise should never get left behind. Remember that household chores are included in this category – so get out there and set the table, clean the dishes and sweep the floor: it all counts. Try going for a walk during the day, or if the weather isn’t great, you can do a exercise video at home (YouTube is full of them).
Thanksgiving is a happy time, and it’s important to enjoy the day and the time spent with your friends and family. Enjoy the home cooked food and try not to stress out if you eat a little more than you planned.
Stay tuned for another post on healthy Thanksgiving recipes 🙂