Thanksgiving and Managing the Excess of the Holiday

By Jenny Steadman November 9, 2018

You’ve been trying so hard to eat well and take care of yourself. You managed not to gorge on candy at Halloween and now the mother of all holiday meals is upon us – Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is built around food, and not just any food. Often Thanksgiving tables are filled to the brim with baskets of rolls, creamed this and buttered that. We are encouraged to over-indulge and that is before we are presented with a buffet of pies.

Oh me, oh my. How is anyone supposed to manage?

The trick is not to restrict yourself but to crowd out.

Crowd out all of the excessive and unhealthy food with the best foods you are offered. These foods are green salad, simply-prepared vegetables, and quality protein.

Here is what I do to avoid the excess of the holiday:

  1. Drink a glass of water before the meal. You don’t want to start off starving.
  2. For round one, fill your plate with green food and protein. For me, this is usually a large green salad with a small serving of turkey on top.
  3. IMPORTANT: Sit and enjoy. Don’t gulp it down. Enjoy the company you are with. Drink more water. (If you are drinking wine, try to keep it to one glass.) By participating in conversation, you will eat slower and, in turn, eat less.
  4. When you are ready for seconds, take a deep breath to center yourself and then get the potatoes, stuffing, and any other indulgence you would like. Don’t overdo it. This is not the only time of the year you get to eat mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. You can make green bean casserole any time you want and bread is something that is available daily. This is not an all-or-nothing situation and you will more than likely be taking leftovers home. This is not your last chance. 
  5. Don’t go back for thirds. Save that for pie. You know you can’t avoid the pie. Get a slice and take your time eating it. Truly enjoy it. Taste it. (That sounds funny, but we often do not take the time to taste our food.) Again, remember that pie is not a once-a-year phenomenon.
  6. Don’t overdo it on the alcohol. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, which makes us eat more. Trust me. You won’t regret saving your second glass of wine for tomorrow or a different occasion. There is always wine.

MOST IMPORTANT: Enjoy your company! Whether you are with family or friends, these are people you love. Be with them. Converse with them. Enjoy them. This is what the holidays are all about.