Ah, the savory smells of roasted turkey linger in the kitchen. The fluffy, hot mashed potatoes are sitting on the table. Cranberry sauce is ready for consumption. Pumpkin pie and ice cream are all set for dessert.
The problem is you’re trying to eat healthy! All these smells wafting from a relative’s kitchen (or more dangerously, your own) will be tempting.
Here are some tips on how to eat healthy and keep in check come turkey time:
- Keep your plate colorful. This is the best way to avoid a carb overload! Too much bread, potatoes and stuffing (beige food) can be a bad thing. Try to fill your plate with nutritious options first like carrots, peas, corn, string beans, spinach, asparagus, salad, cranberry sauce, or sweet potatoes. Then fill in your plate with the carbohydrates!
- Eat slow. Eat less. The idea of eating slow (allowing 10-12 seconds between loading another forkful of food into your mouth) gives your stomach time to realize it’s full. Your brain will get the signal to stop eating before you overindulge.
- Choose only what you really want. This is a great way to “rank” your food. Take what you really want on your plate and put the rest aside. Ask yourself, “Will I eat all of this?” and "Do I really want this, or is there something I like more?"
- Don’t load up on unhealthy hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. First, Eat small amounts of appetizers. Yes, the Ruffles chips and onion dip that my family serves are sinfully delicious, but is it healthy to load my plate up on just that? No. It’s not! I’ve got an entire plate of delicious Thanksgiving goodness that only comes once a year. If you can't resist those unhealthy options, just eat small amounts and you can always indulge on a fruit or veggie platter instead!
- Live a little! You may not feel guilty about overindulging once you start eating, but come Black Friday, you might have a case of the post-Thanksgiving blues. Try not to think about it. Most likely your Thanksgiving overindulgence only lasted one day, or one evening. Keep that in mind!
I find that it’s best to just let the holiday be exactly that—a holiday. Don’t count calories or force any strange healthy options down your loved one’s throats. Thanksgiving will not sabotage your healthy lifestyle unless you allow it to. Come Monday, get back in the swing of healthy eating and activity! You will be just fine! Your healthy life will resume at some point, I promise!
Happy gobbling your Thanksgiving meal!