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Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and, of course, delectable feasts. While indulging in the culinary delights of the season is certainly part of the tradition, it’s also important to be aware and somewhat intentional about what you eat at Thanksgiving.

Here’s an easy way to think about it:

If you gain only 2 pounds every year during the holidays, in 20 years you’ll be 40 pounds heavier — even if you don’t overeat at any other time of the year! 🙀

Creeping weight gain is how a lot of people wake up in middle age, look in the mirror, and wonder what the hell happened to their body.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. While you don’t have to go overboard and be the “health nut” who “can’t eat anything” that is served at family meals, avoiding Thanksgiving weight gain is very doable with just a little bit of attention and planning.

Here are a few helpful tips for enjoying the foods you want without going overboard:

1. Start Thanksgiving Day with a Smart Breakfast

Resist the temptation to skip breakfast in anticipation of the big meal. Instead, fuel your body with a nutritious breakfast that includes protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. This will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent you from arriving at the Thanksgiving table ravenous.

2. When Traveling, Stock Up On Healthy, Easy-To-Carry Snacks

These could include mixed nuts, various fruits, cut vegetables, protein drinks, and bottled water. If you’re driving to see family, you can stop at a grocery store to hit up the salad bar instead of getting a nasty drive-thru meal on the road.

3. Plan Your Plate Before You Start Scooping

Before putting any food on your plate, take a moment to survey the spread and identify the dishes you truly want to indulge in. First, find your nutrient-rich options like turkey and roasted vegetables. Then look for which of the treats you may want to have.

When filling your plate, make protein and vegetables your top choices. Lean turkey, roasted vegetables, and salads are all excellent options that will keep you feeling full and satisfied without overloading on calories and sugar.

If there’s an option for salad (or any sort of vegetable), eat that off your plate first. The fiber will slow digestion and keep you from overeating on other things.

Next, eat the turkey (or other protein). Like vegetables, protein will help control your appetite and provide quality nutrients to your body before you start in on any starchy or sugary stuff.

Lastly (here’s the part you’ve been waiting for), eat whatever goodie you chose, but don’t make yourself sick. Gluttony is one of the least “thankful” things. Go ahead and eat until you’re full, but don’t stuff yourself.

4. Portion Control…at Thanksgiving???

You can use a smaller plate to easily control your portion sizes. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein, and the remaining quarter with any desired starch or dessert. This will help you create a balanced and satisfying meal without overindulging too much.

5. Don’t Forget to Enjoy!

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and enjoy a delicious meal. Instead of rushing through the meal, take the time to appreciate the flavors, textures, and aromas of each dish. This mindful approach enhances enjoyment and prevents mindless gobbling.

This is especially important when it comes to desserts. Savor each bite, appreciating the richness and flavor. This allows you to enjoy the treat without plowing through 1000 calories of something you didn’t even pay attention to!

6. Bring a Healthy Dish to Share

Contribute to the Thanksgiving spread by bringing a healthier dish that everyone can enjoy. Consider a roasted vegetable medley, a quinoa salad, or a fruit-based dessert. This way, you’ll have a healthier option to balance the other not-so-healthy fare.

7. After The Meal, Move It!

After the meal, don’t just vedge out on the couch the rest of the day. Get out and do something with your family! Go for a walk, play with the dog, get in on some neighborhood football, whatever you like.

If you’d like help with nutrition and accountability, contact us for a free consultation. We’ve got an amazing nutrition coaching program that is working wonders for lots of people!