If you’re like so many of us, you’re probably going to eat more on Thanksgiving than you would on most Thursdays. In total disclosure (and solidarity), I too will be eating a bit more than the Lord intends one human to eat in a day- in a whole sitting. With favorites like cranberry jelly, stuffing and all the pies adorning my in-law’s kitchen counter, it’s easy enough to do.
I want to eat all of these things and more, but I also don’t want to feel like I’ve derailed and abandoned all of my hard work in one day. Of course, one day won’t undo my successes, but getting back up after a bad day gets harder and harder as we head into winter. For this fact of life, I can do noting but prepare. We are gifted 24 hours at a time, and we decide whether to adopt a defeatist attitude (i.e. Yesterday I made mistakes, so I might as well make more today.), or optimistic one (i.e. Yesterday I made mistakes, today is a clean slate to walk a better path.).
Working out my new favorite muscle: The Willpower Muscle is like every other one in my body. Each day I must make a conscious effort to isolate the muscle and work towards its betterment. To be stronger in my mind and heart. This all starts with knowing how to workout the willpower, and for my nutrition, that begins with understanding where I’ve made mistakes in the past.
The Typical Plate
The typical Thanksgiving plate is missing essential items and colors… like green! With a plate that looks like this (image from Autumn Calabrese’s video below), the end result of this meal is undoubtedly fatigue, bloat and a feeling of not being satiated just hours later!
How with all of this food can that be true?! This plate is all carbohydrates, fats (especially saturated) and sugar! With minimal fiber, lots of butter and no consideration for the wine, pie, and seconds (or thirds), this typical Thanksgiving plate, though hard to combat, needs to be revised. Processed too quickly by the body with minimal nutritional benefit, a meal like this will leave your body craving more sugar just to stay awake.
The Revised Thanksgiving Plate
The first way to revise your Thanksgiving plate without giving up your favorites is to start with the green veggies. Put the green beans and salad on your plate first, adding skinless turkey next, then fill the small spaces with the rest of your faves.
While the calories are not low, they are certainly manageable, and have more antioxidants, and a higher vitamin and mineral content. A more balanced meal like this with help regulate your blood sugar with the protein and fiber balancing out the sugar content. And those seconds you’re gearing up for? Start with a second salad first, then move on.
Ready to make a plan to stay on target? Try these tips!
Limit your alcohol intake:
While not everyone drinks, if you do, this is a good place to be a bit more conscious. A glass of wine with dinner, or a beer watching the game can suddenly morph into temptation for more. I know that not every family drinks alcohol during their Thanksgiving meal but if you are watching the game, you might be tempted to drink a few beers or other alcoholic beverages. These calories, carbs and sugars can pile on to be almost another meal, and leave your body dehydrated and full of cravings.
If you are partaking, opt for one or two drinks preferably low in sugar and carbs, and drink at least 8oz. of water between drinks. Bring along some sparkling water and drop in a few cranberries or a squeeze of citrus for a simple, festive mocktail, or brew up some unsweetened tea to sip in between drinks, too. This will keep your body hydrated and less apt to over-imbibing. Note that too much alcohol is linked to over-eating, as well. Mind over matter- work that will power! You’ve got this!
Make conversation, put your fork and knife down in-between bites, and drink a sip of water every few bites. Eating slowly will allow you to fully savor each bite of your food, each moment of your company and the day as a whole. Eating slowly will help you recognize when you are full, and enjoy your meal both in the moment and after- without the guilt of too much, too quick!
Bring Healthy Choices:
Ready to have a great plan to execute, but you’re not sure what will be there? Bring your own! Offer to bring a side or two that you know you will love and is better for you (this is why I always bring my own cranberry jelly- none of the canned stuff for me!). Bringing a few healthy side items so that you have some healthy choices- as well as your friends and family is such a great way to help your host and set the tone for your meal before it even begins. (I’ll be sharing some ideas on pies and sides next week!).
Get that Turkey Trot 5k in before your Thanksgiving feast, and you’re bound to have the energy and motivation to keep up with your goals! I have already planned my Thanksgiving day:
- 8am Turkey Trot at the YMCA with friends
- 10am Local football rivalry game
- 12:30pm Nice and sweaty Core de Force workout
- 2pm Thanksgiving dinner!
A morning gathering, supporting my local team, a calorie blasting workout and then time with the family?! YES PLEASE! I have my recipes planned out and ready to execute so that we have our sides with us and can easily prep and cook! When you make a plan, you’re setting yourself up for success!
Choose better-for-you desserts
Check out my chocolate pie recipe ↓↓↓
Not sure about a healthier dessert? No worries- it’s just one day a year! Have a sliver of each pie, or one nice piece of pumpkin. It’s all about balance.
An average Thanksgiving dinner can consist of over 4,000 calories! This is double what most people should eat in a whole day. It can be hard to reign in this amazing day of good food, good drinks and great company, but with a plan and a goal, you can avoid some of the same pitfalls that have plagued you year after year.
Do you tend to overeat on Thanksgiving Day? Are you going to join me in the “revised plate” approach this year?