Thanksgiving – once a year, we gather around the table to enjoy our favorite Thanksgiving treats. It’s a holiday that revolves around food. But Thanksgiving is also more than just that! It’s about spending time with loved ones and taking time to appreciate all that we have. We definitely look forward to those tasty eats, but for some, Thanksgiving can cause stress! It can be overwhelming and can feel like you’re falling “off the wagon.” News flash: there is no wagon to fall off of. We work with clients to work towards a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not something that you are either “on or off.” There is room for holiday eating. There is room for feeling a little full. There is room for enjoying your favorite treats, WITHOUT GUILT! If you’re stressing about the holiday, we’ve gathered our favorite tips for enjoying your favorite Thanksgiving treats!
Not quite sure what to make Thanksgiving? Or have you been diagnosed with Diabetes? I made a [delicious] lower carb Thanksgiving feast from start to finish!
1. Eat breakfast before you get to those Thanksgiving treats.
Many people think it’s a good idea to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving to save room for the big meal. This is not a good idea. Skipping meals earlier in the day can lead to over-eating those Thanksgiving treats later in the day. Think of breakfast as your metabolism kick-starter. It prepares your body for intake, which is especially necessary on Thanksgiving Day. It also decreases your desire to eat more than your stomach can comfortably hold since you won’t be as hungry!
2. Get active. Enjoy an outdoor activity with family and friends.
Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and all the warm colors it has to offer by spending some of the day outdoors. Bring the kids to the local park, join your Dad and Grandfather for a round of golf, go with family and friends to a football game, or, better yet, have your own football game in the backyard! You could also start the day off with a fun run or Turkey Trot!
3. Slow down.
The food isn’t going anywhere, so slow it down! Thanksgiving is about more than the treats. It’s about spending time with family and friends, and focusing on all that we are grateful for! Put the fork down, jump in on conversations, go around the table and say what you’re thankful for, and take it slow! This sets you up for better digestion, and giving yourself time to recognize when you are full to prevent that overly stuffed feeling.
4. Take your pick of those Thanksgiving treats.
What’s on the spread? There are usually a plethora of options on the Thanksgiving table: turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, mac & cheese, bread…the list goes on! What’s special to you? What can you have any day of the year? For example, I LOVE my father-in-law’s homemade stuffing so you best believe that’s going to be the main starch on my plate. But I can live without store bought rolls, mac & cheese, and I just don’t care for green bean casserole. So I let those options pass! Have a food pusher in your life, or is someone offended you didn’t snag their contribution? Just kindly decline or ask to take some home for later.
5. Savor it. Enjoy a slice of pie for dessert!
Because let’s be real, what’s Thanksgiving without a slice of fresh baked pie with whipped cream?? Assess the options – pick the treat that you’re craving! Still feeling a little full from dinner? Give yourself a little time before eating dessert, or ask to bring it home with you if you’re feeling a little uncomfortable.
6. Wait 30 seconds.
Ok, maybe this will take a little longer than 30 seconds. It takes time for our bodies to send fullness cues! Tune in with your body to assess what it is you really want. Are you hungry? Do you want to savor the taste of those mashed potatoes once more? Are you starting to feel too full? Listen to what your body is telling you! Put your fork down for a few seconds and wait. And if you want more, there’s no guilt in that!
Need more ideas to help get you through the Holiday season? Check out our tips for surviving Holiday parties!
Contributions by Doug Kerr, Nutrition Intern.
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.