If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been daydreaming about your Thanksgiving menu for at least a few days (or weeks!) already. And also if you’re anything like me, you’re looking for ways to “manage the damage” during the holiday festivities. Celebrating and enjoying the delicious foods of the season is super fun, but let’s face it, no one likes to wake up on January 1 – after weeks of over-indulging – feeling gross, bloated, and tired.
Here are my 10 favorite tips to get you through Thanksgiving and beyond!
- Start your day with activity. Just 30 minutes of exercise can make a world of difference for your body and your mind. Whether it’s walking, snowshoeing, strength training, or interpretive dance – whatever your flavor, make it a point to get up and move in the morning!
- Eat breakfast! Notice a theme here? How you start your day determines the rest of it! Start your day with a filling breakfast so you don’t nibble all day in the kitchen (those little bites add up!) or show up to the dinner table ravenous. My favorite options are my Arbonne protein shakes (pumpkin & chocolate, anyone?!), avocado toast, or a couple of hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit.
- Don’t start eating right away. If you’re heading to a party where there will be three hours of munching, try to give yourself a little time before you dive into the snack table. Drink some water and enjoy the good company for the first hour before getting your nosh on.
- Find healthy alternatives. A quick stroll through Pinterest reveals that there are TONS of substitutions to make your favorites lighter and more nourishing. Cut back on the butter, use fresh herbs instead of a ton of salt, and look for gluten and dairy free alternatives if you’re trying to avoid those. You would be surprised how little changes make a big difference – without sacrificing flavor. (PS – Trader Joe’s has amazing gluten free stuffing, and I will personally be making a gluten free cookie crust for our pecan pie instead of the usual wheat-flour crust.)
- And prioritize your indulgences! Because sometimes, you want to enjoy that holiday classic without changing up the recipe. And that’s okay! I personally try to pick one or two items that are worth splurging on – like that pecan pie I mentioned. While I’m switching it up to be gluten free, let’s not get confused and think it’s health food – but a small sliver will do just fine.
- Embrace the rainbow. The traditional Thanksgiving meal is famously beige – turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, etc. Our bodies need nutrients from fruits and veggies of all colors, so look for veggies, fruits, and salads that contain bright colors to ensure you’re getting your fill of the good stuff. And if you aren’t hosting, maybe consider being the one to bring a colorful salad to offset the monochromatic menu.
- Eat slowly, and think about your portions. Science has proven two things time and time again: first, it takes our brains and bellies a bit of time to register when we’re full, so eat slowly; and second, that after the first few bites of something indulgent, we no longer find it as satisfying. Consider starting with just a few bites of stuffing or sweet potatoes and see how you feel. If you’re still hungry, there’s always seconds.
- Plan for leftovers. I am famous for making WAY too much food for holidays and gatherings. Don’t feel like you have to get your fill of the yummy holiday meal in just one sitting – plan on a couple more small portions over the coming days. Also think about asking your guests to bring their own to-go containers to spread the wealth of leftovers so there’s not too much temptation waiting in the fridge.
- Count your blessings. A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about what you put into your body, it’s also about your mindset. And in the midst of the holiday fun (and sometimes stress) and trying to make healthy choices, it’s important to remember to pause and consider all the joys and blessings in your life to be grateful for. Maybe even start a new tradition to share what you’re grateful for before you dive into the holiday meal!
- Go easy on yourself. Maybe the turkey didn’t turn out as Insta-worthy as you imagined, your kids are in a crummy mood, or maybe you over-indulged. Give yourself some grace because none of us are perfect. Life doesn’t revolve around Instagram posts, perfection, or calories. One day of over-eating isn’t going to pack on 5 pounds just as much as one day of healthful eating won’t make you drop 5 pounds. Instead of focusing on what didn’t go as well as you had hoped, and cherish the laughs and quality time with your loved ones, then make a plan to get back on track!
BONUS! If you’re looking for a plan to get back on track, join me for a post-Thanksgiving Detox! Ask me how!
Cheers To Your Health,