2020 has been quite a year. We’ve all got a lot of stress on our plates and for some, Thanksgiving dinner just heaps on another helping. Between the turkey stuffing and the endless dessert buffet, Thanksgiving dinner can be downright anxiety-provoking for those of us who are trying to eat healthy. At wellhaus we believe that this holiday should be about enjoying time spent with friends, family, and loved ones, reflecting on all we’re grateful for – not fretting about our diets.
With that in mind, we’re sharing some of our tips and tricks to help you enjoy this Thanksgiving and stay true to your health goals.
Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
If you’re hosting the holiday this year, you have the opportunity to control what you’re serving on the Thanksgiving table, so feel free to go in on the green beans and roasted veggies. However, many of us are invited as guests and don’t have that same opportunity. If this is you, feel free to bring a healthy dish (or two!) to your host. In other words, if you want the Brussels sprouts to be part of the spread, don’t cross your fingers and hope they show up – bring them yourself! Trust us, your host will appreciate it!
Do Not Arrive Hungry
This one sounds strange, right? If you’re anticipating a big holiday feast, why would you want to eat before? Let’s face it – if you arrive at Thanksgiving dinner ravenous, you are going to have a difficult time making reasonable choices. Make sure that you are eating an adequate breakfast on the morning of, and if you are feeling hungry before going, have a snack to hold you over until dinner time. This can be something as simple as Greek yogurt or an apple with peanut butter, but if you feed yourself a nutrient-dense pick-me-up before the real deal you will be more likely to make mindful choices throughout the evening.
Survey The Table When You Get There
The Thanksgiving spread can be very intimidating. When you arrive, survey the table and see what foods you might be interested in. Making a game plan will help you feel more prepared when approaching the buffet.
Portion Out Your Plate
When it is time to eat, make an effort to fill half of your plate with vegetables (no, the sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows don’t count). Use a quarter of your plate for proteins, and then use the remaining quarter for the foods you’re really excited to have this holiday (okay fine, marshmallow yams count here). The belly-filling fiber in veggies paired with proteins will nourish you and keep you feeling full. Incorporating healthier signature Thanksgiving dishes will ensure that you won’t binge when dessert comes around. This brings us to the really tricky part…
If you’re making a concerted effort to not let dessert get the best of you, opt for one sweet treat that you can’t live without. Once you put it on your plate, walk away from the dessert table. Walking away is key! If you linger around the dessert station as you enjoy your pecan pie, chances are you’ll conveniently go for a second, third… yes, even a fourth slice. Not to mention the temptation to try them all!
If you do ultimately want seconds, that’s fine too! However, it’s important to take the moment to sit down and consciously enjoy the foods you choose to indulge in, rather than hovering over the dessert table and mindlessly eating multiple servings.
Don’t forget what the holiday is all about!
…. and finally! Thanksgiving is about coming together and spending quality time with the people we love. Don’t let your stress about the Thanksgiving menu get in the way of why you’re really there. Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health, so be sure that you are *safely* socializing and catching up with the people you’re with. After all, one day of eating won’t have much of a long-term impact on your overall health—so don’t be too hard on yourself. Plus, we can all use a little enjoyment in the midst of this unprecedented time 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving to all—we wish you a happy, healthy holiday!