Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that every American celebrates. It is a holiday about gratitude but food is a big (huge) part of the Thanksgiving tradition. It is important that you feel like you are able to engage in the holiday and enjoy the foods that represent the holiday…RESPONSIBLY. Yes, it is very possible!
According to The Calorie Control Council the average person consumes about 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t get me wrong the food is delicious but 4500 calories worth? Is that totally necessary? This holiday let’s try to do things differently.
Before the event starts ask yourself, “How do I want to feel when the holiday is over?” I mean really ask yourself. Most people who are trying the manage their health and have weight management goals, will say they don’t want to feel deprived, they don’t want to feel super-stuffed, and they want to walk away from the meal knowing they did something good for themselves (hello empowerment!).
Below are some of my tips and tricks on how to engage responsible in the wonderful traditions and foods during the Thanksgiving holiday. This year you will! Use the following as part of your strategy. There is nothing that makes someone feel as empowered as living true to do their intentions. Let this be your guide.
THANKSGIVING TIPS AND TRICKS
BEFORE THE MEAL:
- Eat Before The Feast One of the biggest mistakes people make before a holiday or other special event is cutting back on their intake too much before the event with the hopes that the calories will all balance out in the end. This is what I call “compensating” and it never works. By the time the event starts you are too hungry and you also then rationalize that it is okay to overeat because “Hey, I haven’t eaten all day!” Before you know it the plate of mini-hot dogs are gone and most of them were eaten by no other than you. By eating before the Thanksgiving dinner you can either skip the high calorie hor d’oeuvres or you can be more discriminating and control what you eat a little easier. If it is an option nosh on crudité dipped in salsa and hold off until dinner is served. Tip: I eat a snack
- Be a Well-Intentioned Guest If you are a guest ask the host if you can bring a side dish and/or a dessert. This is a great opportunity to bring a dish that is in line with your healthy eating habits such as roasted vegetables or Brussel sprouts and a fruit salad for dessert that won’t pack on too many extra calories.
DURING THE MEAL:
- Talking Turkey White meat skinless turkey is super low calorie, lean, and very satisfying. Make sure turkey fills up at least 1/3 of your plate. If you want to add some dark meat go ahead but skip the skin and go easy on the gravy if you must use it. Eating enough white meat turkey will help you get and stay satisfied so that you can say “no thank you” to the many of the high calorie foods that line the traditional Thanksgiving buffet.
- Eat Your Veggies Unfortunately many of the vegetable dishes during the holidays are laden with cheese, butter or oil, these are what I call high calorie add-ins. Seek out the vegetables and salads that are simply dressed or don’t seem to be drenched in high calorie sauces. These should make up about another 1/3 of your plate.
- Favorite Foods In terms of Thanksgiving foods….especially the sides navigate the spread. It is important to be discriminating here. Yes, it is a holiday but part of eating responsibly is learning how to set appropriate food boundaries for yourself and break the ubhealthy habits that make it harder to manage your weight. Choose two side dishes that you love and that are typically available only at Thanksgiving and eat a serving spoon of each, the last 1/3 (or smaller) portion of your plate…and stop there.
- Serving Suggestion If you are hosting the meal help your guests curb their portions by serving food buffet style, where the food is placed on a separate table rather than family style where the food sits in the middle of the dinner table. If food is placed on the dinner table people are more likely to overeat it.
- Honor Your Hunger This needs to be a given — always. Honor your hunger by paying attention to your hunger and satiety cues that I discussed in the “7 Mind-Blowing Secrets To Weight Loss” (subscribe to learn more).
AFTER THE MEAL:
- Clean Up! When you are finished with the meal help clear off the table. It will keep you busy…just don’t pick at anything left over.
- If You Must, Have Dessert But just make sure it is something that you absolutely love, don’t have any other time of the year like pumpkin or pecan pie, and that you take only a small sliver or piece. And if you didn’t bring the fruit salad hopefully someone else did and you can eat that as well.
Despite all of the hoopla that goes into making the holiday feast remember Thanksgiving is about being thankful for all of the wonderful things in our lives, our friends and our family. Food is just a small part of it. May everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!