Thanksgiving is a time of family and friends, giving thanks for the things we have in our lives, and helping others less fortunate. Thanksgiving is also a time for food. Enjoying Thanksgiving dinner together is at the heart of the your holiday celebration.
For most of us, Thanksgiving dinner is a glut of food we have once a year. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, the list of options goes on and on and I haven’t even gotten to the desserts! How do you get to the end of the meal, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner and avoid a food coma?
Many fitness gurus and celebrity trainers offer their take on how to avoid the overeating that usually accompanies the meal. Inevitably, their tips usually include leaving the best things off the table (What, no stuffing?) or radically changing the recipes (Pumpkin pie with no crust? Seriously?). I understand their point, but actually putting their tips into action don’t lead to enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
I’m going to be radical here and say the dinner most of us eat on Thanksgiving isn’t particularly unhealthy. Many of the dishes most of us include in the meal are downright healthy! Try some of these tips for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner without the pain and guilt later!
The first tip to enjoying Thanksgiving dinner is cut back on the number of dishes you serve. Many of us strive for a huge variety of options to choose from. The larger variety, the more we want to taste each one, the more we eat.
Cutting back on the number of dishes served also helps reduce your stress of getting the meal on the table with everything at serving temperature.
The second tip to enjoying Thanksgiving dinner is to drink a big glass of water before you sit down to eat. The water takes up space in your stomach so you don’t eat quite so much food.
The third tip for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner is to eat beforehand. I know that sounds weird, but when you sit down to eat ravenous, it’s hard to make good food choices. Eat a protein rich snack an hour before dinner. If your dinner is later in the afternoon or evening, make sure you eat breakfast and/or lunch.
The fourth tip to enjoying Thanksgiving dinner is to eat the right things first. Fill up on the turkey (white meat is lower in fat), sweet potatoes (leave the marshmallows and brown sugar in the cupboard!), and vegetables. A taste of stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy will be all you need to fill your plate. Remember, you don’t have to miss dessert! Pumpkin pie is loaded with vitamins A, C, and most of the B vitamins, along with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese.
And finally, the last tip I have for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner is to enjoy Thanksgiving! Remember the focus of this day is on family, friends, and being together, not who can out eat whom. Enjoy a walk together as a family. Start a game of touch football. Kick a ball around the yard. There are no rules that say you have to stay in the house!
The best way to show your gratitude for the food you have is by enjoying Thanksgiving dinner without the need to go overboard. So relax and enjoy the holiday! See you next week.