We are fast approaching the holiday season. Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, but they also tend to be full of less healthy foods and alcohol. Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here! Now is a good time to plan ahead so that you can stay on track during the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are 10 tips to help you strategize:
Eat breakfast and perhaps snacks (depending on what time you will be having your Thanksgiving meal) on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t “save” your calories for your Thanksgiving feast. When you are overly hungry it is more difficult to make good choices in deciding what and how much you will eat and drink. You may eat much more than you need to if you are ravenous when it is time for dinner. This will lead you to feel uncomfortably full.
Use less fat and sugar as you prepare the foods for your Thanksgiving meal. Most recipes have more sugar and fat than is needed, and likely no one will notice the difference if you decrease them. You can use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and for the gravy. Decrease the amount of sugar in your recipes by 1/3 to ½. Use applesauce or other fruit purees (1:1 substitution) in place of some of the oil in baked goods. Use nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles. Add extra veggies to dishes like stuffing and/or prepare a vegetable side dish.
Plan time for exercising on Thanksgiving Day and the days before and after (even if you have company). Prepare some of the foods the day before so you don’t spend the entire day in the kitchen preparing food. Assign dishes to the people coming to your house for Thanksgiving so you don’t need to prepare all the food yourself. If you have company staying with you, suggest you all take a walk in the morning and then take another walk after your Thanksgiving meal. Everyone will benefit from the exercise, and it will be a great way to spend some quality time together and make the day more enjoyable. If you don’t think your family/friends will want to take a walk, get up early to do a workout on your own.
Thanksgiving meals tend to be full of numerous traditional family favorites. Before you decide what you are going to eat, look at all of the available foods. Select small portions of the foods you really want to eat, focusing on the foods that are typically only prepared during the holidays. Make sure you choose some vegetables and other fiber rich foods!
Serve yourself less food than you think you will eat, knowing that you can always go back for seconds. Consider using a smaller plate so you can’t fit too much food on your plate. Eat slowly and focus on the flavors of the delicious foods. Put your fork down in between bites. Enjoy pleasant conversation with your family members and/or friends. Chances are you will feel satisfied after eating your 1 plate full of food. Don’t forget to save room for dessert. Perhaps take that second walk in between dinner and dessert. Chew gum or brush your teeth once you are full; you will be less likely to grab something to eat when you have minty fresh breath!
Alcohol calories add up quickly so limit the alcohol you drink. Perhaps limit yourself to one alcoholic drink with dinner and drink plenty of water. Consider having sparkling water in a wine glass or pour half of a glass of wine and half glass of sparkling water into your wine glass. You could even make a “mocktail” by mixing sparkling water and a splash of juice and then garnishing it with a slice of fresh fruit. There is something festive about using a wine glass even if you are not drinking wine! If you consume too much alcohol, it may be more difficult to make good choices about what and how much to eat.
Focus on enjoying both the bountiful food and spending quality time with family/friends as you celebrate Thanksgiving. This is a time to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives and to celebrate relationships with family and friends. It’s not just about what food and drinks are being served.
Use your November Free Meal for Thanksgiving dinner. Try to only eat small amounts of leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal and make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables and other high fiber foods.
Consider having more frequent appointments at Health Plus so that we can help you stay on track better. If you normally have one appointment each month, consider setting up two appointments per month. Knowing you will be checking in more frequently can help you stay accountable.
If you end up having more than one Free Meal in November and/or eat more than you intend to around Thanksgiving, take some time to refocus and get back on track. Don’t allow yourself to stay off track for the rest of the holiday season.
Information Compiled from: