Thanksgiving is here! And it is typically here with sugar and spice and all things nice. It’s full of your mom’s favorite casserole dish, your grandma’s pie and all the fixings your family loves. It’s a day of family, football and food, but it is possible to enjoy and indulge without blowing it nutritionally! Is it okay to splurge every now and again? Of course, and Thanksgiving is a day to do it! But if you are trying to not go to bed thinking “Why did I do that?!” follow these tips!
- Get in your run: Sleep in on Thanksgiving, get your food in the oven and go jog or exercise! Many cities have a “Turkey Trot” that let you get in a brisk run for the food and festivities begin. It’s a great way to jumpstart your metabolism and get you feeling good! If you don’t have a local “Turkey Trot”, grab your sister, mom, cousin or grandma that you have not seen since last Thanksgiving and go power walk and talk together. Exercise is a great way to get you ready for a day or feasting and rest. It can also be a great way to finish the day. Feast, watch the big game and then go for a family walk around the block. Getting some light exercise after a big meal and day of sitting will help you feel better and burn off a few of those dessert calories!
- Don’t skip breakfast: So many people skip breakfast to “save up” calories for the big meal ahead! Bad, bad, bad! You actually want to get up and eat a healthy breakfast around your workout to jumpstart your metabolism. Something like oatmeal with cinnamon and peanut butter, eggs and whole wheat toast or even a small slither of seasonal bread and Greek yogurt will get you ready for the day and help prevent you from being so hungry when dinner time rolls around. If you wait to eat until your Thanksgiving meal, you are likely to eat until you are stuffed leaving you feeling lethargic and bloated.
- Choose the smaller plate: The holidays are when the large china plates bust out for dinner. Even plastic and paper plates come in 14-inch size these days. An actual plate should be 9-inches. Take a look at that and see how small it seems. This Turkey Day, try to choose a smaller plate as you can’t fit as much food on it. Then if you still feel hungry or want a little more of your favorite, once-a-year dish, it won’t be as bad as you actually consumed less. Or go back for seconds with a dessert plate so you can only get a few bites.
- Color your feast: We know there will be turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes, but those are all the same color. Add some color to your feast by starting the buffet with a dark green leafy salad with red tomatoes then follow it up with a platter of roasted vegetables. Roasting veggies like squash, zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers, purple onion and carrots for 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees will throw a splash of color onto your buffet and a burst of flavor into your mouth! Then add fresh fruit to a dessert like a pudding or on top of pie for added vitamins, minerals and flavor.
- Be a dessert sampler: Typically, Turkey Day Feasts end with a table of pies, season breads, cakes and cookies. Mmm mmm mmm! Yes, it is okay to indulge as it is Thanksgiving! But do yourself a favor by getting the small dessert plate and then cut the pieces of pie, cake or goodie in half. Instead of eating a whole of everything, try just eating half of each of your favorite goodies. You can enjoy the rich taste without making yourself feel miserable after.