It’s no coincidence that I’m sharing this post a week ahead of time… I need to start planning my strategy for Thanksgiving now. I know that it’s a HUGE holiday and a HUGE food fest.
Without a plan… I’m truly planning to fail, especially considering the staggering statistics associated with the feast!
Did you know that the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. For those of you follow a diet of 1200-1500 calories each day like me… that’s THREE times what you are eating a day all consumed in one sitting. HOLY HANNAH!
It’s the rolls, and the butter, and the appetizers, and decadent desserts… it all adds up. Even the veggies are often dripping with butter and/or cheese, it all adds up. Last year, it was my grandma’s famous rolls. I couldn’t resist them, but I enjoyed them… and I had a plan.
For some reason, we make an exception this time of year. We allow those 4,500 calories to enter our bodies… we throw caution to the wind!
Today, I’m going to give you a few tips for how I plan to survive Thanksgiving. We can do it, folks! If I can resist seconds on mashed potatoes and gravy, I guarantee you can too.
1. Bring something healthy
You can’t show up at Thanksgiving without bringing something. This is your chance to make sure there’s something on the table that’s on your meal plan. I usually bring something in the veggie family… which is your best option for guilt free seconds. When I’m tempted to go back for more, I can gravitate to my dish rather than filling my plate with the higher calorie choices.
Here’s a few ideas of what to bring:
As you know, I feature a lot of healthy/healthier recipes here on NTTC. Click here for a few others you and your family might enjoy!
I will admit, this year… I’m bringing dessert. I love dessert, and this year, I’m working it into my plan to have a sensible dessert, and I want to be able to enjoy a healthified dessert… without feeling guilty. So, I’m bringing it! I’ll share the recipe once I make it, but think bite-sized… and think mini desserts. I’m hoping they’re a huge hit!
Bottom line, think of what you want most… and bring THAT to the table – – healthified, or in a state that you can not feel guilty about eating it!
2. Watch out for Liquid Calories
During this festive time of year, there always seem to be extra toasts and extra opportunities to indulge in your favorite cocktail. While they may seem to flow like water, know that they have a VERY different calorie count!
A glass of wine (5 oz) will run you about 98 calories, while a bottle of regular beer (12 oz) will cost you 140 calories.
Hard liquors have a smaller serving size (usually 1.5 oz) and run about 98 calories. Another tricky piece with hard alcohol is mixers… you have to add up those liquid calories as well. I usually opt for water or diet soda mixers for the lowest impact.
My plan will include a glass (maybe two of wine) with a lot of water in between.
3. Don’t show up at the Feast Ready to Feast!
Showing up at a big eating event like Thanksgiving with an empty stomach can be really dangerous for me. I plan to eat some vegetables, salad, and/or a piece of fruit shortly before arriving at the event and to have a healthy breakfast as well.
Also, consider the water tips we’ve discussed previously. A glass of water before every meal and extra ounces before you arrive at dinner… all of these will help you to feel full sooner!
4. Fill your Plate Strategically
Strategically? Does this mean I am going to pile up as much as I can? To make a pyramid of rolls and carry it to the table without them falling? Or perhaps creating barriers so that the good stuff doesn’t intermingle on the plate?? In a word, NOPE.
When I first started Jenny, this was what my JCC suggested I do when I was at banquet dinners and work functions… it’s never served me wrong, and it’s an easy visual to remember. Fill 1/2 of your plate with veggies, about a 1/3 of the plate with lean protein, and the remainder of the plate with starches. This is my game plan as I look at that Thanksgiving buffet….
5. Plan to Work Out
Planning to get a work out on Thanksgiving can also help to alleviate some of the pre-meal anxiety. Check your gym’s schedule to see what hours they are open… and plan to be there!
Or, if you are with a playful group on Thanksgiving, consider playing a game pre/post dinner…
I’m actually planning to walk the Mile High Turkey Trot this year. I’ve never done one, but it seems like a great idea! I can’t think of a better way to spend the morning than walking four miles in gorgeous Wash Park with several of my fellow bloggers. It’ll be an early morning, but four miles will give me an advantage as I face mashed potatoes and gravy later in the day!
6. Remember, It’s Only One Meal!
Regardless of what you eat on Thanksgiving, how much you drink, and how much or how little you exercise, remember… you can get right back on track if you slip up slightly or enjoy a little too much holiday cheer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not about restricting yourself. It’s about planning for what’s ahead and recovering from moments of indulgence.
I’ve always said that my ability to recover from a rough spell (over and over again) is what’s made me successful on this journey. Of course, you don’t really have to wait until the next day. The next meal, the next course… you can always pick your moment to start over. Just pick one!
How do you plan to enjoy Thanksgiving without going overboard? What are you preparing for your family’s feast?