Enjoying Thanksgiving Without Feeling Like a Stuffed Turkey

Tips to a Healthier Thanksgiving

Don’t you hate all those articles that come out around the holidays spewing statistics on holiday weight gain? It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or, at the very least, a green light to eat whatever we want because the news says we’re going to gain anyway.

I asked my friends to enlighten me on the hardest part about staying on track through the holidays. No surprise that the main reasons are hectic schedules due to travel which means no time to exercise, and all that food, glorious food.

Erin says, “Colder weather also makes you want to eat warm food, like apple pie.”

Leah says, “In my home, I try and save all of the really special treats that typically I would eat through the whole season and just have them out for about 3 days. I also stay away from mediocre treats and save myself for the really, really good ones.”

Amanda says, “It isn’t just food. It is once-a-year special food. Stuff that family members make once and that’s it! How do we say no to our favorites?? Better yet, how do we motivate ourselves to do a workout after a food coma? Having someone with similar goals nearby is helpful but not always available.”

And I really liked Cheryl’s comment: “Simple answer – abundance of food. But then you have to ask why the abundance? Because we as a society celebrate, grieve, show love and comfort through food. Plus we are in the national candy season that runs from a few weeks before Halloween until right after Valentine’s Day; there are even special aisles at the grocery store dedicated to the seasonally wrapped candy. Just watch the commercials on TV. Holidays = food and candy.”

Here’s my take: it’s really not a big deal to indulge in your favorite foods on special occasions. What you’re doing the other 364 days of the year is far more important. If you regularly try to eat a healthy, nutritious diet (which does not mean yucky food – there are so many delicious, healthy recipes) and maintain a solid workout schedule, a day or two or three of indulging is not going to undo all of that.

But if you’re looking for some ways to stay on track through the holidays, I offer the following suggestions:

  • Listen to your body and stop when you’re full. In other words, try to avoid the “I need to unbutton my pants” scenario after eating.
  • Add exercise to your holiday plans. So many cities have Turkey Trots and the like during the holiday season. Why not sign up? It could be a fun new tradition. (P.S. Stay tuned for a holiday workout I’ll be posting soon.)
  • After eating, take a walk. You know this makes you feel better. Getting off the couch after the big meal and going for a walk aids in digestion and helps the “I’m stuffed” feeling taper off.
  • Add some healthier recipes to the mix. I totally get that you look forward to Aunt Edna’s green bean casserole all year, but how about mixing things up?

 

  1. Last Minute Thanksgiving Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes
    1. Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Gratin
    2. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
    3. Coffee Rubbed Prime Rib Roast with Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Butter
    4. Chipotle Pineapple Jerk Glazed Ham
    5. Molasses Fudge Cookies
    6. Peppermint Fudge

 

The important thing about Thanksgiving is to enjoy the people around you and make great memories. And if that also means indulging in your favorite treats? Just enjoy the splurge and remember that you can always get back on track on Monday.