For most people, Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the holiday season. But for some it’s the kick-off to overindulging in rich, traditional foods. Sharing food with family and friends is the best part of the holidays.
Growing up, my family ate very healthy and Thanksgiving was a time to indulge. However, I learned very quickly that sometimes going a little too crazy at Thanksgiving and the other holidays this time of year can lead to feeling too full and uncomfortable to enjoy time with friends and family. Through my schooling, I’ve learned how to help curb that overfull feeling and not just survive upcoming special occasions but thrive during them.
Check out these tips for maintaining moderation and kicking the overindulgent feelings to the curb.
— Add more color to your plate by filling half with fruits or veggies. We normally think of turkey and mashed potatoes when we think of Thanksgiving, but don’t forget your veggies! Stock your plate up with dishes that contain more veggies like green bean casserole, corn bread casserole, sweet potatoes and cranberries.
— Prioritize your favorite foods and foods you don’t eat often. Get a little bit of everything you love, but always prioritize those foods you don’t get often. Yes, even desserts.
— Share candies and other sweet foods if you can. Candies and sweets are thought to be diet killers and help you pack on the pounds; however, they can be completely fine in moderation. Having just one or two might be too hard, especially with all the options on the table, so try sharing your sweet treats with a friend or another family member. You still get the satisfaction of eating what you want, but keep it lighter.
— Eat breakfast so you don’t over eat. The most important meal of the day is still important on Thanksgiving! You may think saving up room in your stomach for the big meal or meals ahead is a good idea. However, this can leave you famished and end up eating more once the food comes to the table.
— Pace yourself and savor each bite. Get a little bit of everything you like and then slow down. Not only will you get to really enjoy the flavors of your favorite dishes, you’ll be more aware of your hunger and end up eating less. By eating slower, we let our bodies catch up and let us know when we are truly full.
— Grab your shoes and get moving. All those extra foods you’ve had are here to fuel you! Plan a great and fun workout or even just go for a walk with family or friends, you’ll be amazed with the energy you have.
— Be realistic with your goals. With so many food centered events and traditions, it’s best to not restrict yourself. Focus on weight maintenance instead of weight loss. Being realistic helps you not become discouraged with your health and goals.
— Make easy swaps. Skip the heavy cream for a lower fat milk, water for soda, apple sauce or bananas for butter in baked goods, spices and less sugar for flavor, and swap refined grains for whole grains. These little swaps can make a huge difference and they are small enough that no one will notice.
— Enjoy your time. Thanksgiving is just one day and being slightly indulgent won’t destroy all the hard work you have put into your healthy lifestyle.
Time spent with family and friends is always well spent and a few cookies or pie won’t kill you.
Holiday Roasted Vegetables
Start to finish: 40 min
¾ pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup toasted pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°. Scatter vegetables on a large baking sheet. Toss with oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetable are tender, shaking the pan halfway through.
Before serving, toss roasted vegetables with pecans and cranberries.
Nutrition information per serving: 175 Kcal; 98 Kcal from fat; 11 g fat (0 g trans fat and 1 g saturated fat); 0 g cholesterol; 4 g Fiber; 19 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein