From the first spoonful of mashed potatoes to the final slice of pumpkin pie, your big Thanksgiving feast is likely one of the things you’re looking forward to the most that day. With careful planning and some small tweaks that you’ll hardly even notice, you’ll be able to enjoy it guilt-free and without having to unbutton your pants.
- Start the day with a little exercise. There’s a reason there are scores of Turkey Trots scheduled for Thanksgiving morning in just about every community. Starting the day with a little exercise gives you a healthy outlook for the rest of the day, will offset some of the more calorie-dense dishes Thanksgiving is known for and will probably motivate you to not eat that second piece of pecan pie. Start your day with a walk around the block if possible, and try to incorporate movement throughout the day.
- Eat a little bit before you feast. Don’t starve yourself all day so that you can indulge at dinner. You’ll end up overindulging, and that can be a recipe for disaster. Have a healthy nosh before dinner (veggies and hummus, anyone?) so that you’re not ravenous come dinnertime.
- Fill up…on H20. Have a nice tall glass of water before you sit down at the dinner table (and several more glasses throughout the day) to help fill you up before you dig in. Also, many of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes are heavy in sodium, so a little water will ease any stomach discomfort you’d feel if you didn’t drink up.
- Make healthy swaps where you can. Mashed sweet potatoes taste just as good (if not better) than marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole. Take a scan of the dinner table before you load up your plate, and try to cover half your plate with good-for-you veggies, joined by lean cuts of turkey and a whole wheat roll. A slice of pecan pie has nearly 200 more calories than a similar slice of pumpkin pie (and more than double the fat), so choose your dessert wisely.
- Don’t stuff yourself (because it will all be there again tomorrow). Thanksgiving leftovers are almost as good, if not better, than Thanksgiving dinner itself. Have a reasonably-sized plate of Thanksgiving favorites; going overboard can cause stomach upset (or worse), so remember to take it easy and know you can enjoy some more of your favorites the next day.
And when you’re sitting down at the dinner table this Thanksgiving, pause and give thanks for the blessings in your life.
We will be.