Thanksgiving (Holiday) Eating Guide
As America anticipates the arrival of Thanksgiving tomorrow, there will likely be a few of you who choose to stay in, eat, and watch football instead of getting out on the bike. Our teammate, Kelli, offers up some great dietary advice for anyone in this situation (whether you’re in the US celebrating the holiday, or live elsewhere…it’s good advice no matter the country or the holiday).
When it comes to meeting nutrition, health, and any fat loss goals, it takes a lot of willpower at Holidays. This can be true of any Holiday or “Special Day,” (birthdays, Super Bowl, etc), but seems most difficult from the last week of November through the beginning of January. You don’t have to be a victim to weight yo-yoing during Holidays. You can maintain your weight or even continue to lose weight if you’re dedicated to it…here’s a few suggestions to help you not just survive the Holiday calorie, but thrive and even enjoy them!
- For the Thanksgiving/Christmas Season, don’t count on “blowing it” through these months just to start all over in January. Instead, have a game plan. Take the days of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day to enjoy celebrating without worrying too much about calorie intake. Then, practice self-control during all the days in between. It’s not really the 2 days that will get you…it’s all the overeating at parties, lunches, with family, etc. for 2 months! Feel good about your choices and stay strong during this Season. Then, you can feel great about enjoying the actual Holidays without anxiety or guilt. You can do it!
- If you’re having a family get together or party, try to bring/provide a healthy dish so that you do have some good options. A vegetable salad that you really like is a great choice. Then, after practicing portion control with all the other foods, you can still cover ½ your plate with veggies.
- Feel free to enjoy most any food, but keep the portions small (only a few Tbsp of really high-fat/high-calorie choices). Enjoy each bite and take your time!
- Remember, no seconds! Eat slowly and then be done with it. Enjoy sipping some water, tea, coffee, or other low-cal drink while the others are finishing. Then, clean up and move onto other activities…you’ll feel great physically and mentally while everyone else is moaning and groaning about being stuffed!
- Don’t allow yourself to become too hungry before the “big meal.” Instead, eat a normal high-fiber, high-protein breakfast as usual. Eat your Holiday meal, and then (especially if you did overeat), stick to just veggies in the evening (if you’ve already made a large vegetable salad for the gathering, have it for dinner).
- If your gathering includes alcohol consumption, go easy – alcohol is a “triple-edged” sword! First, the drink itself contains calories – a lot of calories in the case of sugary alcoholic drinks. Second, it usually makes people more relaxed about food choices, which leads to overeating calories. Third, in the case of binge drinking, your body may not be able to metabolize fat for up to 72 hours while your liver is dealing with the alcohol…this means that all the work you do to “burn off” the calories from the Holiday during the days that follow are worthless! So, instead of drinking too much, enjoy just a glass or two of a non-sugary drink (such as beer, wine, or a small amount of hard alcohol). Drink water between drinks and take it slow!
- Be as active as possible! Go for a walk after your meal, play football, do whatever…just get up and move!
Kelli Jennings, RD, runs a company called Apex Nutrition, LLC (www.apexnutritionllc.com/sportsnutrition.html). Kelli is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and did her residency at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC.
You can contact Kelli at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to have her work with your nutrition needs.