I have to laugh about Thanksgiving because I feel like everyone goes nuts on the whole eating thing. There seems to be the it’s another day group and the I have never eaten a crumb of food in my life and I will surely die of starvation group.
For the first group, you may wake up early get in a workout, eat a normal healthy breakfast, eat the Thanksgiving dinner (and dessert if you want) without drifting into a food coma for days to come. Whether it’s moderation or tweaking recipes you have found a way to enjoy the food and the day.
The second group, well, I’m not going to pretend that they are “careful” when they sit down to eat. That’s fine.
I know Thanksgiving comes once a year. I love cooking. I love eating. I love being with loved ones. I love the peace and gratitude that Thanksgiving is all about.
But I don’t get the stuff your face until even your fat pants don’t fit gluttony. It’s not an eating competition.
So where is the balance?
Yes, I can lecture all about healthy ingredients and healthy recipe swaps. I can mention all sorts of tips to aid digestion, but I’m focusing on realistic dinner time tips.
My advice, don’t diet! That’s right don’t.
Don’t skip breakfast
Nothing is worse than starving yourself all day just so you can indulge later. Breakfast can be light. Just because dinner is heavy and filling doesn’t mean you need to go crazy for your first meal. The point is to be wanting to eat the amazing dinner not be famished. Besides not eating makes most of us mean, so the last thing you need when dealing with all of the family is to be impatient and angry.
Don’t skip the carbs
Every food group is important. Skipping carbs to lose weight just annoys me. However if you are concerned or a member of the gluten free club, find refuge in complex carbs. Sweet potatoes, a fall and Thanksgiving staple, are high in Vitamin B6, antioxidants, beta carotene, Vitamin C, and potassium. Quinoa, buckwheat, rice, and lentils are all great grains that can be used to make dishes for meat and non-meat eaters.Make yourself a rule to fill half of your plate with at least 1/2 veggies then fill in with the carbs and/or protein if you are truly concerned. If you want that sugary dessert then stick to one thing.
Don’t be boring add color everywhere
Vegetables are so full of color and nutrients. You should know that you can’t go wrong with green! Brussels sprouts and green beans can be found on most Thanksgiving spreads. Fall squashes, like butternut and pumpkin, are bright orange and yellow which mean loads of Vitamin A. Apples, pears, cranberries, and pomegranates are amazing fall fruits that can be added to salads. And yes, when crammed into a pie, there is still nutrition there, it’s just seasoned and baked.
Don’t stress, enjoy yourself
I know not everyone is going to make everything from scratch. Most of the day is based around being together. Yes there is lots of time spent in the kitchen, but don’t let it stress you out. I honestly don’t know anyone who gourds their own pumpkin for pie. I didn’t know cranberry sauce was something besides the canned stuff until I was a teenager. I know people that unless the cranberry sauce has the can lines on it, it’s not really cranberry sauce. When it’s time to eat take your time. Enjoy that dessert or that buttery roll.
Don’t be a blob, move if you can
Yes, if you can fit in a workout in the morning do it. Even if it’s just a walk and talk with a loved one, it’s something. Bonus: a workout will relieve stress and help you feel a bit more relaxed. If you can’t workout or just want to spend your day off doing something else go ahead. If you are active on a regular basis then you know that you can get back on track over the weekend.
Enjoy your food, your day, and your loved ones on Thanksgiving.