My grandma likes to feed people. She plans every meal, and a bowl of cereal or a sandwich won’t do. Every meal must be hearty, filling and beautiful. Egg casseroles and cinnamon rolls for breakfast and meat, potatoes and veggies for lunch and dinner!
Two years ago when I was going through a major health cleanse, I headed into Thanksgiving with my traditional-style farming family unable to eat gluten, dairy, eggs or sugar. I knew it would be a challenge, but I prepped by packing a lot of my own food: smoothies for breakfast, homemade gluten free breads, homemade chocolate and lots of almonds and raisins for snacking. I made it through but with lots of protesting from my grandma 😉
This year I’m going into Thanksgiving with the same grandma, but this time, I’m excited to indulge a little! Thankfully, I won’t be ignoring any food, but I still want to be healthy and feel good at the end of the week.
Whether you practice a super healthy lifestyle all year or are just trying to not to overdo it, the holidays are tricky. The key is finding the balance between overdoing it and depriving yourself.
I curated a list of the best-of-the-best advice I found from across the internet and sprinkled in some of my own tips. This list focuses on celebrating in a healthy way, and encourages balance without perfection. I hope it helps make your Thanksgiving enjoyable while still letting you slide into your favorite skinny jeans.
- Drink plenty of water. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day (if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water), but it’s especially important on a day that’s all about eating. We often mistake thirst for hunger so if you’re plenty hydrated, you’ll be less likely to overeat because you just feel staaarving.
- Switch up your exercise routine for the week. Depending on your schedule this could mean doubling up your work outs like my friend and Beach Body Coach, Stephanie, or breaking up your normal 45 minutes into more manageable 15 minute chunks. If you’ll be with family or friends you don’t get to see often, exercise together! Take a hike, cross country ski or help with the farm work.
- Limit yourself to one helping. Chose your portion sizes wisely and only fill your plate once. This becomes a lot easier if you…
- Eat mindfully. One bite at a time. Put your fork down after each bite, chew and enjoy your food. Make sure you mix your bites with chatting or watching the Lions game too. Whatever you do, don’t shovel food into your mouth without thinking about it.
- “Eat what you love, leave what you like.” Practice Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” philosophy, and skip over the foods that don’t get you really excited. Fill your plates with the foods that bring you joy. (Lindsey Joe on Greatist)
- “Alternate your bubbly (or beer) with sparkling water.” This lets you indulge a little bit but keeps the holiday hangover away. (Teresa LaMasters on Greatist)
- Don’t stand where you can reach snack bowls. Oh boy, do I struggle with this. I love hanging out by the chips and guacamole, and I will eat it all if I’m not careful. (Real Simple)
- Cut yourself some slack. Follow the 80-20 rule, and let this day be your 20. If you practice your healthy eating habits the rest of the week, you can worry less about this day’s indulgence.
- Make the day about having fun with family and friends, not eating. Several different articles mentioned this tip, probably because it’s super smart!
What tips would you add to this list? How do you balance yourself during the holidays and especially on Thanksgiving?
Image by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash