So before you binge during the holiday, remember year after year most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays — and keep the extra weight permanently. Thanksgiving does not have to disrupt your journey to a healthier lifestyle. With a few tips, you can satisfy your craving for traditional Thanksgiving favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free holiday feast. After all, being stuffed is only a good idea if you are a turkey!
Incorporate physical activity into your day and get the family involved. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. Not only are you encouraging your family to be active, but it is a great way to spend time together and enjoy the holiday. Go in the backyard for a fun game of football with the family and burn a few extra calories while the food is cooking.
By planning ahead, you will allow yourself to have better control of portion size and preparation to use healthy ingredients. A valuable train of thought is to plan what you are going to put on your plate and how much of it you will have before filling your plate. This will help you control your eyes getting larger than your stomach needs and going overboard on items that look and smell so amazing. Not everyone will be hosting Thanksgiving at their house, so if you are traveling somewhere else, it is important to plan your day of eating so that you can limit yourself. Try preparing a healthy dish to bring to dinner, allowing you to eat less of foods that may not be ideal for your weight loss program.
Eat Breakfast and Snack Healthy
Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast containing fiber and protein such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast so you won’t be as hungry when it is time for dinner. Also, some families have Thanksgiving at various times of the day. If your family eats later in the afternoon or evening, try to have a small healthy snack instead of a lunch. By snacking healthy, you can avoid high calorie and high fat foods like dips, spreads, wings, etc. Veggie and fruit trays are a fantastic way to have a filling snack while being smart about your food intake.
Limit Portions of Bread
A staple of Thanksgiving meals in many households are various styles of bread. Some families choose cornbread while others bake an insane amount of dinner rolls. All of which can send your diet down the drain for the day and we haven’t even talked about the bread crumbs in the stuffing. Try limiting your bread intake to one piece or one roll for dinner if you cannot go without. You can also look for alternative stuffing recipes that substitute bread crumbs for another ingredient such as quinoa.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Often times at Thanksgiving we let a small slip up in our diet turn into a full on tumble off the mountain we’ve climbed so high on. Avoid beating yourself up if you indulge in a slice of pie, but refocus your exercise and healthy eating efforts as soon as possible. Feeling down and guilty eating will only take you further from your goals and may lead to a mindset of “Well I already messed up and ate a dessert, I might as well have another piece while I’m at it.”
A Lighter Choice
A great way to enjoy Thanksgiving without the stress of worrying about everything you are eating is to substitute some ingredients in your favorite foods with lighter alternatives. Take a little extra prep time to find ways to cut as much of the fat, calories, and sugar as possible. Many times, you can cut these diet killers without sacrificing any flavor of your favorite foods. One great example that almost everyone can use is to baste your turkey in fat-free chicken broth and while making your gravy.
Enjoy Family Time
Thanksgiving is about more than just gorging ourselves with extravagant amounts of food and sitting on the couch to watch football. It is about spending time with your friends and family and being thankful for all that you are blessed with. Ok, maybe a little football. Try to put this mindset at the center of your holiday and avoid falling into the trap of over-eating and being lazy. With these simple tips above, you can have a wonderful holiday and stay on track with becoming a healthier you!