Have a Balanced and Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is notorious for getting just as “stuffed” as the turkey. There’s a lot of rich once-a-year foods available and we indulge… that’s why the typical plate is 1500 calories, nearly a day’s worth for women and a half day’s worth for men! It’s almost like eating a large Big Mac, fries, soda, and an apple pie in one sitting.

It’s common for people to be concerned about Thanksgiving weight gain, but let’s be more flexible and focus on a balanced holiday. You should enjoy these seasonal foods at their finest! Studies show if we eat what we want, we will be more satisfied and in actuality, eat less.

So here’s what you can do for a healthy and balanced Thanksgiving:

  • Put color on the plate. Make sure the Thanksgiving table has two non-starchy veggies. Green beans are popular. Maybe you can also serve a nice salad or some roasted brussel sprouts Also, the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes have good nutrition for the calories.
  • Be selective with starch. Of all the starches, the stuffing is the one that only comes around once a year. There are so many other days for you to have bread and mashed potatoes. Choose what you think you will enjoy the most and savor every bite.
  • Avoid the “food coma”. Stop eating when you feel “comfortable” full. Then go take a walk with family or spend some time outside throwing the football. You’ll feel better, you’ll digest your food better, and when you go for seconds, you’re going to feel a lot less guilty about it.
  • Don’t skip meals to ‘save your calories up’ …this will likely lead to over eating.
  • Listen to your body. When you’re satisfied, put the fork down. You can always come back to it later when you’re hungry again.
  • Drinks still have calories: wine, beer, sodas, cider still count towards the daily total. Make sure you stay hydrated with water throughout the day too!
  • Know you can say “no” to seconds: if your family likes to load up your plate, you’re allowed to politely decline.
  • Focus on family: enjoy the discussion around the table and get involved! Take bites and savor the food and the company. Remember this holiday is about the people you’re with!
  • Grab a smaller plate: we sometimes rely on visual cues to tell us when we are fully, or done eating. Use a salad plate or small dinner plate so you’re not ‘fooled’.

Above all, remember to be Thankful!

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34 Responses

  1. Your advice to “focus on family” is so important — I’m finding myself, with all the crazy in my own life right now, firmly focused on that alone.

    “Crazy” provides awesome blog fodder, but it also makes you take stock in what you have!

    Thanks for the tips. Happy holidays! :)

  2. Thanksgiving time is always hard because I want to eat everything. Another word of advice…workout before going to eat. Go for a nice job before, anything that will help burn some calories before consuming all that food :-) Then you don’t have to feel so guilty


    • Check out my “me movement” campaign too! http://www.theMEmovement.com — there is a pledge to stay on top of your health and wellness goals.

  3. Great tips, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Great tips! I normally don’t pay much attention when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner, but it’s always good to have a few eating tips in mind.

    • I was just on TV discussing this and I agree — enjoy the wonderful, seasonal food! I love to get extra stuffing because it is my favorite and I’m not as excited about the bread or mashed potatoes — you can have those all year long. Saves room for pumpkin pie and more of the stuff I really LOVE!

  5. best advice is to use the smaller plate, that we we can pig out on all this heavy food we love…but we just eat less of it.


  6. I know what you are saying…I never got the whole concept of eating until you were so stuffed. But I eat to live, not live to eat. Thanks for sharing.


    • I think this is a good approach “eat to live” and “enjoy” but if you are really enjoying the food, you should not feel deprived if you have to stick to a rule for how much you are “allowed” on Thanksgiving. Change it to how much you need to be satisfied.

  7. I think the first step may be following a steady calorie intake throughout the year, as opposed to trying to buckle down for the first time at a Thanksgiving feast.

    • Oh I agree… not a good time to approach Thanksgiving with “this is a meal where I will be healthy to my highest standards”. Talk about sabotage!

  8. Great post, but I’m resigned to just having the mental attitude of “It only happens once a year!” I go partially blind to all vegetables or salads that day, and can only see stuffing, stuffing, and more stuffing (and pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream). Come January, when all the exciting food goes into hibernation, that’s when I’ll turn back to salads again!

    Great post…congrats on FP!

    • Oh you and I CANNOT be at Thanksgiving together because I love the stuffing too! My fave veggies on T-day are sweet potatoes and brussell sprouts. I think it is great to enjoy what you are loving as long as it is guilt free! For those who want to maintain weight over the holidays I like to give these realistic ideas so they don’t feel deprived. See why in my story/video call “me movement” – http://nurtureprinciples.com/the-me-movement/why-i-started-me-movement/

  9. You mean I can’t eat 7 servings?

    • I don’t know — can YOU? Do you feel more stuffed than the Turkey? I don’t at all want to sound like the food police. I’m all for enjoying it. I’m also for people feeling in charge of their choices and doing what THEY want not everyone else around them. You know?

  10. I have really worked hard all year to be better about portion size. So this year I know I am going for the stuffing. Mom makes an oyster stuffing that I like to eat with my cranberry sauce. It is a once-a-year treat. Maybe afterwards, I will force the kids to walk it off outside.

    • MMMMmmmm… post a pic of that oyster stuffing!!! Hey, I love the idea of being active w/ kids outside… Then come in for the pumpkin pie! Have a great one…

  11. [...] the original post here: Have a Balanced and Healthy Thanksgiving Posted on 2010 年 11 月 23 日 by lanshang1460. This entry was posted in 未分类 and tagged [...]

  12. As my mother often says around Christmas (the big eating holiday in Sweden): It is not what one eats over Christmas—it is what one eats the rest of the year.

    Those who lead a healthy life can take the one day off to do something different (e.g. stuffing themselves). Those who do not, well, they should start to work on the 364 days that really count.

    • Agreed. As long as you feel good doing it, emotionally and physically.

  13. Most of the time, if I really concentrate on what other people are loading onto their plates and shovelling into their mouths, I’m less inclined to do the same. But then there are the times I just join in…

    • Can I make a suggestion for this year? Focus on YOU… and what YOU want/need to do to get satisfied. We’re having a twitter chat at 9p.m. tomorrow with #mefirst more info at http://www.thememovement.com

  14. I think I can skip this one out as we dont celebrate thanksgiving in New Zealand but I can use your tips for the coming holiday season (Christmas and New Year)



    • What? No food festival? LOL! These def apply for all the holidays :) check it out http://www.thememovement.com

  15. I always cook a very large Thanksgiving dinner with plenty of side dishes and at least two deserts. The reason I do this is 1) I love Thanksgiving because I have such a good time with my children cooking in the kitchen and preparing the food for a couple of days before–we do a lot of laughing and talking, 2) I know we will have plenty of leftovers so no one has to feel that they have to eat it all in one sitting, 3) I don’t have to cook for several days after!

    • Wow, now THAT’s a rationale!!! Love it! enjoy…

  16. Love this post! So glad it was featured on wordpress.com and I found it! Wonderful!

  17. If you are a meat-eater and eat turkey on Thanksgiving, better to eat organic, free-range birds. Turkeys that are sold in chain-grocery stores are factory farmed in the most crowded and bacteria-laden conditions! They are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones which you consume also when you eat them!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. Great advice. Some of the traditional diets (Okinawan, an island off of Japan, among the elderly, it’s eat only 80% feeling full. They have a record of many people living close to 100 yrs. New generation is different. :( )

    Go for a bike ride or walk afterwards. Chat up with family or friends during that time too.

  19. I grew up without turkey anyway. So this is our homemade Thanksgiving dinner in Oct. (Canadians celebrate it in that month.):

    squash-carrot soup
    roasted beets, parsnips and celery root
    gourmet sausages (bison, venison)
    heirloom tomatoes marinated in some oil, vinegar and garnished with fresh basil
    salmon fillet lightly sauteed with orange sauce and herbs
    dessert focaccia (embedded fresh cut figs, plums, grapes and blueberries. Dessert was my contribution. He added wine-flavoured whipping cream as topping.)
    red & white wine

    Think outside the box for Thanksgiving and Christmas also. Dessert focaccia has no sugar, fat nor eggs.

  20. Happy Thanksgiving and… nice photo.

  21. [...] another WordPress offering of good advice, much wiser than mine: Balanced Health and Nutrition Thank you to its author Rebecca [...]

  22. [...] Have a Balanced and Healthy Thanksgiving (rebeccascritchfield.wordpress.com) [...]

  23. Thanks for the good, healthy advice… but… this is the one single day of the year that I just have a great time, eat, talk, visit, eat, and eat a little more.

    After being strict all year long I do want to be just a little bad today!

    But I do promise to get straight back to being good tomorrow :)

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