Uh-Oh! Once again the Thanksgiving holiday has snuck up on us. Is it possible to enjoy the day without the guilt when you’re trying to lose weight? Absolutely!
Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight loss goals. With a little before-hand knowledge, you can enjoy that Thanksgiving meal and leave the guilt behind! Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Start by getting active and creating a calorie deficit before indulging in your favorite foods. Follow the formula of eat less and exercise more leading up to the holiday. Start your day with a brisk walk or yoga practice in the living room (This will also help you better manage stress on a holiday!). Encourage family members to join in the physical activity and make it a family adventure.
- Eat a small breakfast so you will have more control over your appetite. By eating a small, gratifying breakfast, your hunger will be at bay when Thanksgiving dinner is staring you in the face. Starting your day with a meal that includes protein and fiber will allow you to make better decisions when faced with all the delicious choices at mealtime. Try an egg, slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with a low-fat milk option.
- Make dishes that are healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. Most people will not notice the difference if you use lower calorie ingredients in your cooking and baking. Some suggestions are to use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy, use sugar substitutes in place of sugar, use fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods, reduce oil and butter whenever you can, and use plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
- Remember to select reasonable-sized portions of foods. Scan the buffet table and decide what you want to eat before filling your plate. Resist the temptation to go back for seconds. Keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others. Keep your portions small and you can enjoy whatever you like.
- Slowly savor each mouthful and really enjoy the taste. An easy way to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied is to eat slowly, put your fork down between bites, and taste each bite. Keep in mind that choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber help add that fullness feeling.
- Be mindful of those alcoholic drinks that tend to have many calories. Consider drinking water between drinks containing alcohol to stay hydrated, limit those extra calories, and stay sober.
- Be sure to be realistic and keep in mind this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss. Holidays are a time for celebration and provide many extra temptations that don’t help our weight loss goals. During this time of the year, shift your focus to maintaining your weight and avoiding gaining. This will keep you on track for meeting your weight loss goals.
Focus on Family and Friends
- Most importantly, focus on family and friends. Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious food and eating until we are stuffed. It is a time to come together and be thankful to celebrate the relationships we have with family and friends. Celebrate by socializing and spending quality time together.
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
― François de La Rochefoucauld
Which One Are You?
THE MEAL STUFFER
Meal stuffers eat primarily during mealtimes, but then they eat to excess, cleaning everything on their plate. They often eat so quickly that they’re uncomfortably full after they finish. Meal stuffers consider themselves to have “healthy appetites.” They often take second helpings at home.
THE SNACK GRAZER
Grazers reach for whatever food is available, typically about three times a day. While they love the 4 C’s (cookies, chips, ice cream and candy), convenience is usually more important to them than taste. They seldom pass up a candy dish. For these people, snacking can be a nervous habit, something that gives them an excuse to get up and walk around, or something they can do with their hands while watching TV or reading. They might be hungry when they snack, but it’s almost done more out of habit than hunger.
THE PARTY BINGER
Parties—buffets, receptions, tailgates, and happy hours—these are high-distraction environments where the food is the backdrop for either business or fun, and it’s easy to lose track of how much they’ve eaten or drunk. Party bingers are often professionals who frequently wine and dine, or single, stay-out-late young people.
THE RESTAURANT INDULGER
While many of us eat lunch away from home, the restaurant indulger also eats dinner out at least three days a week. Like party bingers, restaurant indulgers are often on an expense account. They may also be affluent gourmets or DINKs (double income, no kids) in their thirty-something years.
THE DESKTOP (OR DASHBOARD) DINER
Both speed-eat while multi-tasking at their desk or in their car. Desktop diners eat at their desk partly to save time, but more often to save the hassle of getting a real lunch. It’s not that they’re overly busy— they’re under-motivated. If the right person were to stop by to ask them to lunch, they’d probably go. But more often, they snack out of the vending machine or grab a donut from the mail room.
Click HERE to read specific suggestions for the different types of eaters.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes make for the perfect healthy side dish recipe. It comes together with just a couple simple ingredients and it’s perfect for the holidays or any day of the week.
TOTAL TIME: 40 mins
SERVINGS: 8 servings
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup melted butter or ghee
- 1/4 cup milk, dairy-free milk also works
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley finely diced
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on high heat.
- Peel the sweet potatoes with a hand peeler.
- Dice the potatoes into chunks and place them into the pot. Cook the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes over a colander.
- Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mash them with a hand masher or electric beater.
- Then, pour the butter and milk into the mixture and continue mixing until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop the mashed sweet potatoes into a bowl, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!
Recipe information here:
Four Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving
1. Plan Ahead
2. Choose Wisely
3. Get Moving
4. Be at Peace