With the holidays fast approaching, (Thanksgiving is already next week!) I’ve put together a list of tips to ease your feasting anxiety. 😉
- Don’t let the fear of the Thanksgiving Day feast cause you to start dieting now. Instead of restricting your favorite foods the week before Thanksgiving, practice eating mindfully so that when turkey day comes, you don’t find yourself with the excuse to suddenly binge on anything and everything you find enjoyable. Remember, it’s all about balance. Drastic highs and lows in your diet do not do any good. Learning to eat healthy consistently will be much better for you than extreme dieting, binging, and then dieting again.
- Offer to bring a dish (and make sure it’s a healthy one). If you’re not the one hosting Thanksgiving, ask the hostess if you can bring a dish. Having a healthy option can bring you a sense of relief if you’re unsure of what the menu will consist of. Chances are there will be someone else secretly thanking you for bringing something they don’t feel guilty eating. I brought this delicious kale salad to Thanksgiving last year, and it was such a hit..seriously! I even had a guest request the recipe and she’s told me she makes it regularly for her family. Another favorite holiday salad of mine is a spinach salad with roasted strawberries and almonds. The roasted strawberries are warm and gooey when they come out of the oven and provide just the right amount of sweetness. Check out the recipe here.
- Schedule your exercise for the day. Plan a hike, walk, or go to your favorite exercise class in the morning. (If you live in the Bay Area, visit us at Studio K-Fit for our annual Pre-Turkey Burn workout! 😉 ) Remember, high intensity exercise allows your body to continue burning calories even after the workout is over. If you can’t get out before dinner, plan to do a walk after. This will help fight that ‘sluggish’ feeling and also help you digest your meal faster than if you took a nap or sat on the couch. If you’ve been inside cooking all day you’ll feel grateful to get out of the house for some fresh air.
- Use a plate when nibbling. When you’re at a holiday party, or standing around the kitchen waiting for the roast turkey, be sure to pick up a plate so you’re mindful of what’s going in your mouth. The more steps you take to observe the food that’s in front of you before you eat it, the less likely you’ll overindulge in that cheese dip.
- HYDRATE. Instead of grabbing a beer or pouring a glass of wine when you arrive, opt for a glass of water. Drinking an alcoholic beverage while also munching on hors d’oeuvres will most likely cause you to overeat/eat more than you planned. If you opt for a glass of wine at dinner, be sure to follow it up with a glass of water. Drinking water in between courses will not only aid in digestion, but also trigger a cue to your brain letting you know you’re full.
- Assess your dinner plate. Does it contain a protein (turkey) and at least 1 serving of vegetables (corn doesn’t count). Instead of grabbing a biscuit, mashed potatoes, AND stuffing – choose 1 or 2 of your favorites. For me, I would choose mashed potatoes because it’s something I never make myself. Bread is easy to come by, so I usually pass up the dinner rolls at Thanksgiving. Be mindful if your veggies are loaded in cheese or a cream sauce. If you were munching on cheese and crackers before dinner, choose to eat more turkey and green beans and/or carrots during your main meal; especially if you have a sweet tooth like me and know you won’t be able to refuse a slice of pie. Remember, you control your food- not the other way around!
- Slow down and enjoy the experience. Savor the foods smell and texture. Engage in the dinner table conversation and thank those that helped prepare the meal. You don’t have to refuse Grandma’s pumpkin pie, but take small bites and give yourself time to digest afterwards before helping yourself to seconds.
Having a game plan before going to a party this holiday season will help you to make smarter decisions when temptation comes knocking. Instead of completely eliminating everything you love, choose which vice you would rather indulge in. For example:
“I will drink sparkling water with hors d’oeuvres instead of wine.”
“I will have a glass of wine instead of having a slice of pie for dessert.”
“I will eat the sour cream mashed potatoes at dinner instead of eating these macaroni and cheese bites as an appetizer.”
The holidays don’t have to undo all your hard work from this year. With these mindful tips, you’ll be sure to have a healthy, and happy holiday season 🙂