How to Enjoy Thanksgiving on a Diet

How to Enjoy Thanksgiving on a Diet

Thanksgiving dinner only comes around once a year!

That is the good thing, right? Well, yes and no. Our Thanksgiving meals can be full of healthy vegetables, sides, and family time, but it can also lead to overeating, high blood sugars, fatty plates and a number of other unhealthy behaviors that start the downward slide for weeks or months to come.

It's understandable - but it doesn't have to be written in stone! If you're nervous about the coming holidays and the havoc they'll wreak on your daily routine, keep reading. We've got some tips to get you through this holiday season.

Get Planning

With a little planning, your meal can be enjoyed and you can rest easy knowing you'll be in a stronger place come December.

Usually, the big meal can be a 5,000 calorie splurge. From alcoholic drinks, to snacks, to turkey and ham with sides and pie for dessert, you're packing in an unfettered amount of food in a short amount of time.

Instead, plan your day out! When you have a meal plan outlined, you're more likely to follow it. Start with a healthy breakfast full of fiber to prevent overeating throughout the course of the day. A NutriBlast with extra fiber, like psyllium or oats, along with some chia or flaxseed, protein, and a little fruit will get your day started on the right foot.

Have a light lunch with the proper amount of protein. If you're cooking, set some raw or steamed vegetables to the side and enjoy over a bed of spinach or lettuce. Have a quick sandwich with your favorite organic meat, or a meal replacement Blast that will energize you and keep you from taste-testing your meal more than you have to.

Before dinner rolls around, you're likely to know what's being served. Follow the plate method, reserving half the space on your plate for vegetables, a quarter for protein, and a quarter for starch. Bake a low calorie or low glycemic dessert for everyone to enjoy. If not, have some of what's being served, but avoid extras like icing, whipped topping, caramel and other unnecessary calorie bombs that don't add anything useful to your intake.

Be a Connoisseur!

You know you're in for a big meal. Instead of packing your plate with tons of turkey and mashed potatoes, add just a little of everything at your Thanksgiving spread. This means enjoy every bite you have completely. Volume is not as important as complete enjoyment of each bite you have, so make sure you're enjoying a taste of it all, without overdoing it.

This also means enjoying every aspect and sense of your meal beside taste! Take in the smells - which have been shown to trigger chemical responses in the brain related to food - the sights, the colors, the textures, the sounds of a happy gathering. When you focus on everything else and keep yourself busy chatting, dicing, laughing, and slowing down to breathe and take it all in, you're less focused on food and more focused on the things that really matter.

Finally, remember the basics.

Drink lots of water, which keeps you hydrated and helps with satiation cues, keep a food diary, and don't forget to move! Go for a jog early before the festivities begin or walk to the store for last minute pickups instead of driving. Do whatever you can to work off that bread and sauce. Put your fork down between bites. Eat more vegetables than anything else. Avoid seconds (and thirds and fourths). And remember - tomorrow is a new day! If you break your diet or healthy eating regimen, get back on the horse tomorrow. Don't let one unhealthy meal spiral you out of control.

With these habits in place, your Thanksgiving will be happy, enjoyable, and totally worth every second.

Happy Holidays!

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by abbeybr84
December 15, 2015
This is how I understand what is needed to lose the pounds. This is also always keep in mind that weight loss takes time. I'm gonna use these suggestions to help guide my weight loss plans.
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