Any holiday where the focus is the food is a good holiday in my book. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy…I just drooled on my keyboard. And since it only comes around one day a year, why not indulge a little? Clear your plate? Get seconds? Get thirds? Have TWO pieces of pecan pie? Well, you and I both know the reason: Because nothing is worse than going back to work wearing pants that are a little more snug than you remember.
The average American eats between 3,000 and 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day—about two days worth! And while just one big meal won’t make you fat (any more than one salad dinner will make you skinny), wouldn’t it be nice to spend the holiday not hating yourself? Here’s some tips that can help you feel good both on Thanksgiving and for days after.
Start with a calorie deficit.
If you don’t regularly exercise, Thanksgiving morning may be the perfect day to start. Burning a few extra calories right away will give you a fighting chance for when you’re stuffing yourself full of cheesy potatoes and green bean casseroles.
I’ve never heard anyone complain about there being “too much food” on Thanksgiving. As such, don’t settle for what’s served…why not bring your own dish of healthier fare to share?
Think veggie tray for an appetizer, a pumpkin pie that cuts out some of the sugar, or even one of the myriad of healthy sides you can Google. Not only will you be doing something for your health, but you’ll be making your loved ones healthier, too.
Enjoy all the food, just not so much. Most of the food you get on Thanksgiving you won’t get again until next year, so why not
actually enjoy each item by putting a little of each on your plate.
This way you get all the things you crave, but you won’t overdo it by eating planet-size portions. And remember, it’s always okay to tell Aunt Betsie “no thank you” when she tries to fit two scoops of mashed potatoes on your plate.
Think small and slow
If you really want to watch what you eat on Thanksgiving but know you don’t have the will power, set yourself up for success by eating slowly and using a small plate. By eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and taking time to chew your food, you actually savor the meal and will enjoy it more. If the body has a flaw it’s that it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full, so if you can avoid the lure of savory smells and resist shoveling it in at a rapid pace, you’ll actually eat less while still feeling satisfied.
Most importantly, be realistic
Listen, the holidays are about celebrating life, love, family, friends and are a joyous occasion. It’s a perfectly noble goal to continue (or start) your healthy eating during this time, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a few extra spoonfuls of gravy!
There’s always tomorrow.