Thanksgiving is often defined by “family, football, and food.”  For some of us, the food takes priority over all else and it’s viewed as a day to feast and kick off the holiday season!  While we encourage everyone to enjoy the variety of foods at the dinner table, with no foods to be viewed as “off limits”, it’s also important to keep in mind your health goals and why you’re trying to accomplish them.   The day should be enjoyed, guilt-free, but common sense needs to be utilized.  Here are some potential Thanksgiving dinner tips to try out before, during, and after the meal:

  • Before – Be real with yourself.  Understand the meal will be larger than your typical dinner.  Plan Accordingly
    • Prioritize physical activity earlier in the day – try to make the workout longer or more intense than usual
    • Try to drink more water than usual
    • Eat normally throughout the day – don’t “save” your calories solely for dinner and go into the meal feeling super hungry
    • What’s on the menu? – Figure out what you’ll eat (and how much) ahead of time
  • During – Be Mindful and Deliberate
    • Begin the meal with a big serving of a salad or soup
    • Prioritize lean protein (turkey, anyone?) and vegetables on your plate
    • Eat slowly and keep tabs of how full you’re getting.   Don’t wait until your stuffed to stop eating.
  • After – Take stock of how the meal went.
    • Don’t let it define your path through the rest of the holiday season.
    • Good or bad, tomorrow is a new day.

It’s important to think of eating on Thanksgiving in terms of a sliding scale, rather than an all or nothing proposition.  Will it be the perfect day to execute on the necessary actions toward your goals?   Probably not…but that doesn’t mean it needs to be your worst day either.   There can be a middle ground that allows you to partake in the celebration without completely derailing your progress.   So, enjoy the family, football, and food, but be smart about it!   Happy Thanksgiving!