Thanksgiving may only be 24 hours, but for a lot of us – it’s a 4 day vacation that includes a whole lot of cooking, eating and relaxing with friends and family! When I was in college, I used to have a lot of anxiety about Thanksgiving. I was in the process of recovering from disordered eating (I tended to oscillate between binge eating and extreme dieting/exercising) so you can see how a holiday where one is surrounded by food made me cringe.
Luckily, those days are well behind me and my eating/exercise habits are now very normal and well-balanced. For the past 4 years, I have enjoyed Turkey Day by following a few tips and tricks that have allowed me to enjoy the delicious Thanksgiving foods and desserts, while maintaining a healthy outlook and feeling good.
Tips on Staying Healthy & Balanced During Thanksgiving:
1. Eat Breakfast
Eating breakfast will curb your appetite so that you are less likely to over-indulge once the appetizers and Thanksgiving meal is set out later that day. You want to be hungry for the main meal but not absolutely starving!! I’ll usually eat something light, yet protein right (like scrambled eggs and fruit.)
2. Get Moving!
Working out not only burns extra calories/revs up metabolism but it also feels great! I’ll usually do a 5 mile run Thanksgiving morning before showering and getting ready. You have the rest of the day to be lazy and relax after all 🙂
3. Dress to Impress
Wear an outfit that you love and feel your best in! When you look good, you feel good and will be less likely to overindulge on heavy foods.
4. Go Easy on the Appetizers
Who wants to fill up before the real meal is even set out? Go for the lighter appetizers (veggies with dip or shrimp cocktail) that wont leave you feeling full. See a cheesy or buttery appetizer that looks incredible?, try it! – but just enjoy a bite or two and save your appetite for the main course.
5. The Main Event
Turkey is actually pretty darn healthy! Its protein rich and if you go for the white meat, low in fat. However those buttery rolls, mashed potatoes and other side dishes are not. Because I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving meal to the fullest, I will usually load up on turkey, salad and have smaller portions of whatever else I want to try. Savor is the key word here. Savor each bite of your smaller portion, and you wont feel as though you are missing out on anything!
Ah dessert, my favorite part. Savor is still the key word here! My family tends to set out about 10 different amazing desserts, and I will usually pick 3 that I want to try and have a bite of each. Ill complement the heavier dessert with some fresh strawberries if I am still hungry!
Set down the wine glass every once in awhile and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water on Thanksgiving!
8. Remember, you can always have more later
The majority of the food/wine/dessert isn’t going anywhere! Chances are, the fridge is going to be stocked with leftovers for the next few days (or you’ll be sent home with a plateful of food.) I remind myself this when I am getting full, but want to keep enjoying the delicious food – there is always time later on or tomorrow when I am hungry again.
Does anyone else have any healthy Thanksgiving tips to share?