1. Eat Breakfast.
Start a healthy Thanksgiving with a big bountiful breakfast like hot whole-grain cereal and an egg-white omelet brimming with veggies. That’s because saving up calories for the big meal rarely works. You end up “spending” a lot more by overindulging on belly busters like a full ladle of gravy (about 800 calories!) instead of a tablespoon-size taste (70 calories).
2. Pitch In.
Call your host and say, “I’d love to bring something. What are you planning on serving?” If you discover that one of the dishes is particularly unhealthy, offer to bring your own version. Sweet potatoes, for example, can be real killers – full of butter, syrup, and marshmallows. But they can also be perfectly healthy – and absolutely delicious. Just bake the yams in foil at 400 degrees F until their syrupy juice starts to seep out, usually about one hour. Then, peel and layer them with pineapple slices and a little cinnamon.
3. Know Yourself.
For most of us, there’s a certain part of the meal that gives us the most trouble. For some, it’s alcohol. For others, it may be dessert. Devise a strategy. For alcohol, tell yourself, “I’ll enjoy a half glass of wine with appetizers, and a half glass with dinner,” or decide to stick with mineral water at first, saving your alcohol for the main meal.
If you have a sweet tooth, plan for it. If a taste of chocolate satisfies you, take it. Enjoy it. But if one taste sends you lusting for a lot more, offer to bring your own healthy dessert, such as fresh raspberries and sorbet. Or have dessert waiting for you when you return home. A nice reward for a job well done!
4. Divide Your Plate Well.
Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with white turkey meat, and the rest with a healthy starch, like corn on the cob, a baked potato, or sweet potatoes.
5. Do What You Want; No One’s Watching.
People often think that if they say “no” to certain dishes, everyone notices, or the host is insulted, when in fact there’s a very good chance no one notices. Just play it down. Simply say, “No thanks, I’m full,” or “Try me later.” Then, sit back and enjoy the rest of your healthy Thanksgiving Day.
6. Start Thanksgiving With Physical Activity – And Stay Active.
Take a walk early in the day. And after dinner, suggest everyone go out (if the weather permits) for a neighborhood stroll. What a wonderful way for families to enjoy the holiday together. Another tip: Plan some outdoor fun before dinner, like a game of soccer or volleyball with the kids. (It’s a great strategy for keeping the appetizer buffet at bay, too.)
THANKSGIVING “RECOVERY” PLAN FOR THE NEXT DAY:
1) Make a healthy breakfast w/leftovers:
- Cranberry sauce on oatmeal w/ walnuts
- Sweet potato & kale omelete
- Pumpkin yogurt parfait: 4 oz plain Greek yogurt with 2 tbsp canned pumpkin, 1 tbsp chopped pecans, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar/honey
2) Break a sweat. Track 10,000 steps while Black Friday shopping, hit the gym or go for a run.
3) Have a Thanksgiving salad. For lunch/dinner, put leftovers on a bed of spinach. Smart!
4) Hydrate. All the extra salt, sugar & alcohol are begging to be flushed from your body. Drink 72-100 ounces of water.
Have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving week!