Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

tips for a healthy thanksgiving

It’s almost that time of the year again and I must say, one of our favorite holidays. Thanksgiving is one of the given times throughout year that we get to see our extended family, consume delicious home cooked food together, and witness at least a few awkward moments when that relative has too much to drink.

Thanksgiving also seems to have earned a reputation for being quite a gluttonous holiday associated with the unbuttoning of pants, stomachaches, and feelings of guilt due to an excess amount of consumed calories. However, we are here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way!  Follow our tips below, and you will be on your way to enjoying a healthy (not hazardous) Thanksgiving!

#1 Change Your Mindset
First off, let’s discuss the fact that even though Thanksgiving comes only once a year, we do have access to these ritualistic foods all year round.  Now we understand that most families don’t prepare such a large feast on a regular basis, but the point is if we are able to eat turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie all year round, why must we eat to the point of sickness on this given holiday?  Think about this when you sit down for Thanksgiving this year and remember there is no need to approach your meal with an all or nothing mentality when you can realistically eat Thanksgiving foods (in moderation of course) all year round.  It’s just another meal.

#2 Have a Plan
Having is a plan is something that we talk about often.  Creating a plan for yourself in terms of identifying what you will eat and your splurge items, will help you best prepare in times where self control may be more difficult.  For reference, a splurge item refers to a treat that you don’t normally indulge in such as decadent mashed potatoes or a slice of pie.  Do your best to create a mental plan for yourself on Thanksgiving, including what you will eat and what item(s) you plan to splurge a bit on.  Choose one dessert ahead of time and keep your portions in tact.  Follow your plan and you will be good to go!

tips for healthy thanksgiving
Plan your indulgences ahead so you don’t end up eating the whole pie.

#3 Don’t Starve Yourself
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.  It’s never a good idea to starve yourself all day in anticipation of a large meal later in the day.  By doing so, you’ll be ravished by mealtime and any and all efforts to eat “well” will be thrown out the window.  Instead, treat Thanksgiving like any other normal day and eat small, balanced meals throughout the day.  This way, when the festive mealtime comes, you won’t be starving and ready to scarf down everything in sight.

#4 Strategize with Smaller Plates
Another great way to be mindful of your food intake on Thanksgiving is to use small plates.  As humans, we have a tendency to want to fill our plates completely and then clean our plates entirely.  The more on the plate, the more calories consumed.  Instead of setting your table with large dinner plates this year, reach for medium sized plates.  Chances are people won’t even notice a difference!

#5 Fill Your Plate Appropriately
The best approach to any meal is to break your plate up accordingly into the following food groups: ½ plate veggies, ¼ plate protein and ¼ plate carbs (think sweet potatoes).  Try to use the same approach on Thanksgiving.  This will ensure that you are not overeating a food group (no half plates of mashed potatoes here!) and that you are getting in plenty of healthy foods such as vegetables.

#6 Enjoy Yourself
We hope that at this point in our article you don’t think that we don’t want you to enjoy Thanksgiving foods, because we do!  If you’ve been waiting all year for homemade pumpkin pie or freshly whipped mashed potatoes, by all means, enjoy yourself!  The idea though is to be able to do so in moderation and in control.  Enjoy that piece of pumpkin pie that you’ve been thinking about all week, but don’t enjoy three pieces!  Get the idea?

A Few Post-Thanksgiving Tips…

#1 Let Go of the Guilt
Maybe you’ve read all of our tips, implemented them but still managed to eat more than you planned (hint: that extra piece of pie) and now you feel terrible about yourself.  Overeating happens to the best of us.  If you leave Thanksgiving feeling guilty, let it go.  Letting go of your guilt is a big part of moving forward and continuing your health and fitness journey.  Beating yourself over the situation won’t do you any good.  Instead of drowning yourself with guilt, see our last and final tip below, “get back to your routine.”

#2 Get Back to Your Routine
The best thing you can do following Thanksgiving is to get back to your health and fitness routine.  Maybe you’ve made a plan and followed it perfectly or maybe that one piece of pie turned into three pieces and now your jeans feel too tight.  If the latter, don’t starve yourself the next day because you ate too much, instead drink plenty of water, eat balanced portioned meals, and workout.  Getting back to the gym and your routine way of eating is the best way to get back on track.

DeHenzel Training Systems
Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Photos courtesy of: bhofack22/, yarn doll/

nutrition coaching for women sophie dehenzel copy

Hi, I’m Sophie. I’m Co-Owner of DeHenzel Training Systems, Precision Nutrition Level 2 ProCoach, Certified Personal Trainer and Pre/Post Natal Specialist. I’m also a wife, mom, tennis beginner and ice cream lover.

Most importantly, I love helping people just like you gain control of their health for good. If you’re tired, frustrated and still struggling to rein in your diet and get moving, check out our nutrition and personal training services and take the first step today.

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park. We also offer Nutrition Coaching and Online Personal Training services worldwide.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Gainesville, Great Falls, Haymarket, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge. Don’t see your city listed? Contact us today to find out if we service your area!

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