A Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving starts the holiday season, and I’m sure many people are worried about the pounds that they may pack on this holiday season.  However, this does not have to be the case, you can treat Thanksgiving like a normal day. Yes you can eat a little more and you may indulge in some foods that you wouldn’t normally, but it is not an excuse to eat your heart out.

I usually recommend weight maintenance during the holiday season.  Sometimes, losing weight is unrealistic, and can lead to feelings of deprivation.  However, the last thing you want is to throw in the towel and say “I will start on January 1st.”  If you do that, you will end up heavier on January 1st than you are today.  If you approach the holidays with a healthy mindset, and have your favorite foods in moderation you can stay at the same weight, and then if you need to lose you can buckle down a bit once the holidays are over.

So – how are you going to stay healthy on Thanksgiving?

  • Exercise. This is vital, since you will be eating extra calories, you want to make sure you are burning extra calories.  Hit up the gym firsts thing in the morning (check your gyms hours as they may be different).  If you are away without access to the gym, get outside for a long walk or jog, or maybe turn on Exercise TV on the television, or make up your own workout to do in your room: jumping jacks, push ups, sit-ups, planks, jumping rope (without the rope), etc.
  • Don’t Restrict. A lot of my clients ask if they can skip meals to “save up” for a big one.  The answer in NO! You will only overeat later on in the day.  Eat normally and do not skip any meals.
  • If you are Cooking the Meal you have complete control!  Make healthier versions of all the classics.  Use cooking light, eating well, and healthy cookbooks for recipe inspirations.  Add a side dish of green vegetables and include fresh fruit with dessert.  Give away all of the tempting leftovers.  If you know you will pick at the leftover pie for the rest of the week, make sure to get it out of the house!  Same goes for stuffing or other food that you have trouble limiting the portions.
  • If you are Attending a Dinner bring something healthy with you!  I usually recommend a vegetable side dish (roasted vegetables, kale salad, roasted beet salad) or a fruit salad for dessert.  This way you have something you know is healthy to add to your plate.
  • Choose your Favorites. Just because it’s Thanksgiving you do not need to give in to everything that is on the table.  Look at all the options, and choose small portions of the foods you know you cannot live without.
  • Get Right Back to Your Normal Eating. Thanksgiving should not last from Thursday – Sunday.  Friday morning get right back on track on Friday. One heavy meal will not cause weight gain (you need to eat an extra 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound).

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

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3 Responses

  1. I think my favourite is stuffing and pumpkin pie.

  2. I love them all – maybe turkey the least. My solution is to have a little bit of each thing – a spoonful of stuffing a dollop of mashed potatoes w/a bit of gravy, etc. I start the day w/a healthful, fiber-filled breakfast and have a little snack (maybe an apple) in the late evening (we eat dinner at 2 or so). And then, like you said, “back on track” on Friday. It’s not easy, but it’s worth not being saddled w/5+ lbs. to lose by the end of the holidays!

  3. great advice–my favorite is green bean casserole!!! so good!

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