Happy Thanksgiving! Healthy tips for the holidays

by - 9:49:00 AM

What is the hardest thing about Thanksgiving? Yup! All the tempting food, sweets and drinks!

Over the past several years, after I finally did something about my weight and lifestyle.... I never really paid attention to how difficult it would be to go to family gatherings and still maintain my goals. Before, I would just eat like majority of Americans on Thanksgiving. I would just eat all the deliciousness and then go back for more in a few hours.

It wasn't until after my son was born (when I changed my lifestyle) that I began to notice things. There was carbs EVERYWHERE! I would look at the table and there would be 3 different kinds of potatoes, macaroni, stuffing, dinner rolls and more. Now there is nothing wrong with a few carbs, we need s decent amount of them! But it was too much. Then I would look over and see sooo many sweets! If you know me I love chocolate and pastries ugh it's the monkey on my back! But there was always what seemed to be more desserts than there were veggies... at nearly every home we visited. And for the record, no we didn't eat at every home lol. It was just an observation.

The past few years, I would cook Thanksgiving for my husband and kiddos in Dallas and it seemed to be easier! I could make what I wanted and how much I wanted. But since we are back in Kansas City now, Thanksgiving will more than likely be spent with our families. :)

So as I was thinking of our ultimate game plan for this year it hit me. This is something that a lot of people may or may not know! How can we continue to make healthy choices during a time where food is the main attraction? How can someone keep on track and still enjoy their time with family and friends? So I decided to share some of the tricks that were shown to me and some I would do to be healthier during Thanksgiving.

1. Sign up for a 5k or take a special class. One thing that would always keep me focused that Thursday morning was taking a special "Thanksgiving" class! A lot of times trainers at the gym will offer clients classes early in the morning! So check your gym schedule or even have a group of workout buddies request one! There is always some form of a Turkey trot in major cities. I have found that if you start your day off with your goal in mind or on a healthier side, you are more likely to finish it as well!

2. Make a plan! Plan out your week before Thanksgiving by checking with your relatives that are in charge of the menu. It's ok to call and ask what is going to be served (just don't do it rudely). It is good to know before hand what you are going to be dealing with.

Which brings me to...

3. Bring an extra dish. I know this may sound crazy but when you bring more than one item, you will  have an extra option! of course there will be turkey in most homes so you can enjoy some lean meat, but what about sides? Don't get stuck with turkey and one item that you brought. Try bringing two side dishes of your favorite veggies or salad. This will give you the option of having a little more variety on your plate and a lot less temptation.

4. Eat before! I'm not saying eat a whole thanksgiving feast but eating a small healthy snack on your way or right before you leave the house will definitely leave less room for all the foods that were provided.

5. Drink water. Thanksgiving day should be called "How much water can you drink without floating away day" lol. Seriously, try to drink even more water that day. It will help keep you full and temptation on the back burner.

Now drinking... if you love to drink at occasions like this then be mindful of what you are drinking!

6. Don't drink your typical wine or concoction. One thing a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of cocktails and wine are breeding grounds for calories. Instead of that glass of wine or White Russian, try something harder with a twist (lime, orange etc). This will surely cut out extra calories but not the fun!

7. Don't skip dessert! I know huh? If you skip dessert you are more likely to go crazy that night! It's the want but can't have syndrome. One small piece of pie is better than the whole jar of cookies later. If you have a major sweet tooth, then bring ingredients for yourself and others to make their own desserts! A great idea is to make fruit parfaits! Bring a big tray of cut fruit and some vanilla Greek yogurt and go to town! With the protein in Greek yogurt and the fiber in berries, you won't need much!

8. Be more than social! At your family's Thanksgiving do more than talk. Go outside after you eat! Play with the younger kids, get the cousins together for some football or take a nice walk around the neighborhood park. Do anything instead of lounging around waiting for the Thanksgiving night football game!

9. Help clean. Not only is this just a nice thing to do when visiting your family or friends for Thanksgiving, but it will keep you from being idle. Being idle will only make you feel bored and mot of the times when people are bored they "feel hungry" and that can only lead to eating more!

If you have to go back to work on Friday or plan to be out shopping the latest deals, then try this!

10. Keep small snacks and water on you! When you are out shopping and running errands you may forget to eat or you may wait too long between meals. So naturally you are beyond hungry and will tend to eat more if you stop somewhere between store shopping. Same thing if you have to go to work. People may bring in left overs and treats for the office. So keep something on you through out the day that will be satisfying and not leave you hungry or tempted.

I hope these tips will help you during Thanksgiving, or really any time you are facing a "food for all" event! How are you planning to stay on track next week? Let me know in the comments below!

PS: remember, it is always ok to say "no thank you" as well! 

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  1. Thank you for all of those great tips! I definitely need to save this article to re-read after my daughter is born. Good for you!

    1. Thank you! Congrats on a baby girl! They are wonderful!

  2. Love these tips! This can be such a hard time of year to stay fit. Great list--thanks for sharing

    1. Thank you! Yes it can be very difficult! Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Oh so true. The festive feel comes with so many options to go on binge eating. It's tough to resist. Sound tips to plan ahead and make it a healthy affair!

  4. It's so true. I always tend to binge eat at the holidays!!

    1. Chocolate is my favorite and as son as September hits, I feel like chocolate is everywhere lol. It defintely can be a struggle!