Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for all that you have, celebrating with family, and maybe a good pair of post-dinner elastic pants when that last piece of pie really pushes you over the edge. If you associate Thanksgiving with holiday joy, but also a bit of regret and stomach cramps, perhaps it's time for a new approach.
We're not saying go gluten free / dairy free / sugar free this holiday, we're just saying that with the right moves, you can enjoy Thanksgiving delights while still feeling good.
Here's how to make it happen:
Start Your Day With a Sweat
There are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up on Thanksgiving morning. Sign up for a Thanksgiving Day race, attend a themed class, or do an at-home workout or long walk with your family. By starting your day with movement, you're more likely to make healthy choices the rest of the day. Start your day feeling energized with a positive outlook.
Contribute Healthy Options
Like we said, we're not suggesting you take all the fun out of Thanksgiving and make bland veggies as your dinner contribution, but think about a healthy (or at least healthier) side or dessert. Look for recipes that replace refined flours with coconut or nut flours, don't feature added sugars and use healthy oils and fats instead of sticks of butter. Your dinner-mates will likely thank you for giving them a side they can feel good about digging into.
Stop When You're Full
Novel idea, isn't it? It seems so simple, yet many of us continue to go back for seconds even when beyond satiated. If your table is filled with tons of tasty options, start with small portions so you can get a taste of everything without overdoing it. After round one, mentally check in with yourself and ask if you really need more food. Remember the difference between wanting more and needing more. Don't ignore the cues your body is sending you about your level of fullness. Quit before you head towards discomfort.
Go For a Walk
After dinner, encourage everyone to head out for a walk, even if it's just once around the block. You might be more in the mood for a nap on the couch, but rally and get your body moving as you digest.
Lose the Guilt
Maybe you didn't follow the above advice, hey that's ok! Hopefully you enjoyed every bite. Even if you're feeling less than your best the day after Thanksgiving, luckily it's a new day and a new opportunity to follow a healthy path. Instead of going hard on the leftovers, opt for the foods you would normally eat, not what you'd eat because it's leftover from an indulgent holiday. No matter what you ate and did the day before, there's always another chance to start fresh and make good choices.
Have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving everyone!