This Thanksgiving, we're giving you something to be thankful for: 5 not-so-obvious tips for surviving Thanksgiving.
Fuel Up Beforehand
Many people skip breakfast and lunch on Thanksgiving day in order to “save calories” for the big binge. While it sounds counterintuitive, eating smartly beforehand will prevent you from overeating later. So what exactly does smart eating mean? Just like any other day, an ideal meal or snack includes a combo of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Since you’ll probably be busy enough in the kitchen already, opt for easy snacks like an apple and nut butter, a green smoothie or chia seed pudding. When you have a stomach full of fiber and protein, eating an entire block of cheese during appetizer hour might not sound as tempting 😉
Maintain Not Gain
Let’s not kid ourselves -- even with the best of intentions, weight loss during the holidays is not realistic. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, make it your motto to ‘maintain, not gain.’ This means you can enjoy a piece of pie or a serving of mashed potatoes but should be conscious of portion sizes. Fill your plate with as many veggies as you can (marshmallow topped sweet potatoes don’t really count…) along with small servings (about ½ a cup) of some of the more decadent sides.
Red > White
You are going to need some alcohol to get you through that inevitable family political discussion. Choose your beverage of choice wisely. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that has shown to prevent blood vessel damage and reduce harmful cholesterol levels, so make it your go-to. The ‘maintain don’t gain’ motto applies here too though. The health benefits of wine are negated when one glass turns into 5 or 6…
The funny thing about a big Thanksgiving meal is that in the moment, it feels great. Most comfort foods like the ones we enjoy during the holidays contain some form(s) of sugar, salt and fat. These foods feel good in the moment but as soon as we put the fork down, the “I’m-so-stuffed-it-hurts” feeling catches up with us. And, just a few hours later the dramatic spike and fall in blood sugar actually leaves us hungry again. Try to remember this feeling WHILE you are eating. Listen to your internal satiety and hunger cues and stop eating when you are full.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Thanksgiving is just one day. Enjoying a meal with your closest family and friends is no reason to beat yourself up. Instead, make an effort to get back on track the following day by consuming as many whole, plant-based foods as you can.