Healthy (Realistic) Eating Tips for Thanksgiving & How To Bounce Back Afterwards

Thanksgiving has always been one of my fave holidays…family and friends gathering and eating lots of good food and eating it until I can’t anymore!  But of course, my habits have changed and this will be the first year that I do not plan to conduct myself in such a manner 🙂  But I definitely plan to get my grub on with some of my fave dishes such as macaroni and cheese, dressing, various casseroles, greens, maybe even some cornbread!  I no longer eat meats other than fish so I plan to have that instead of the usual turkey.  I’m definitely looking forward to the desserts, too!  I’m talking about sweet potato pie (not Patti’s pie at 440 calories a slice!), cheesecake, apple pie…whatever the fam prepares I’m sampling it all!  And guess what…I’m confident that I won’t gain much if any pounds at all from eating on Thanksgiving day and leftovers the following the days afterwards.  You know why?  Because I’ve learned how to still eat things I enjoy without going overboard with it…moderation is key!  Let me give you some tips on how you can do the same.

1) Fill that cup with water.  Before you sit down to eat make sure you have a tall cup of water to drink with your meal.  If you don’t like plain water then add flavor to it such as lemon juice…or get a little fancy with a bottle of sparkling water.  This will help you skip the extra calories that you could get from sugary drinks such as juices and sodas.  Be sure to drink the water throughout your meal until it’s all gone.  This will help fill you up faster so you don’t focus so much on getting full from eating instead.  And remember that you are supposed to drink at least half your body weight in ounces in water.  So try to keep that in mind even on Thanksgiving Day, which will help you to eat a little less and feel full faster, as well.

2) Go for the veggies first!  Try to fill about half your plate with veggies.  Veggies can be filling and are often less fattening and contain fewer calories than your typical Thanksgiving foods such as meats, breads, and sides like macaroni and cheese.  While I won’t say do not eat any of these other foods I would recommend eating them in smaller portions than you typically would.  The key here…more veggies and less of the other stuff so you can still eat the foods you enjoy without too many calories and too much bad fat.  Eat smarter!

3) Sample the bad foods…don’t overdo it!  I like to be realistic.  Yes, foods such as macaroni and cheese, dressing, and cornbread are definitely not healthy foods.  But during times of certain type of gatherings such as Thanksgiving and other special days I think it’s OK to eat a little of these foods…I certainly plan to!  But instead of filling half your plate with macaroni and cheese or getting a huge hunk of cornbread smothered in butter go for smaller, sample sized portions instead.  Same goes for desserts.  Don’t skip the sweet potato pie, peach cobbler (ooooweee!), or lemon cake…again sample sizes are good here.  So just get a sample size of each to satisfy your sweet tooth.   At a typical Thanksgiving dinner there is a large variety of dishes to choose from.  So after you’ve sampled these items, ate your veggies, drank your water, and sampled your desserts you will not want to eat much more anyway but would have taken in less calories and fat than you usually would.

4) Don’t immediately go to sleep after eating Thanksgiving dinner.  You want to give your body a chance to burn off some of those extra calories you’ve taken in.  So try going for a walk or even standing instead of sitting while talking to family and friends.  Simply doing these things or staying awake and a little active for at least another hour or two will make a bit of a difference and lessen the impact of you eating more food and taking in more calories.

5) Get a good night’s sleep and plan ahead of how you’re going to tackle those extra calories you’ve taken in.

Now that Thanksgiving is over…it’s time to bounce back!  Check out the following steps for this.

1) Start your day with a good, hardcore cardio workout, run, or even brisk walk.  This allows you to get your workout done for the day or get in an extra one later to burn even more calories.

2) Eat a light breakfast.  Try replacing your breakfast by drinking a good, filling, tasty protein shake such as Shakeology.  My fave is the chocolate vegan flavor blended with frozen bananas, peanut butter, and vanilla almond milk.  This is what I always do the day after eating bad…it really helps me bounce back.  If you’d like to try Shakeology® click here.

3) Drink lots of water so you can keep things moving.   This helps to flush out your system from all that good (or bad) eating you did on Thanksgiving…try drinking a bit more than usual.

4) If you’re eating leftovers follow the previous method I mentioned with veggies taking up half your plate.  Try to do this for lunch and dinner.  Something else you can try is having a meatless meal…so choose all sides (sample sizes unless they are veggies).

Taking these steps may sound like a lot to some people.  It’s easy to just pig out without thinking about it on Thanksgiving.  But think about the after effects….weight gain, bloatness, clothes fitting a bit tighter.  Who wants that….not me!  What I’ve learned about living a healthier, more fit life is that the first thing that must change is the mindset.  Once you get into the mindset that you want to eat better and do what it takes to feel better then it makes everything else such as different eating habits and workouts a bit easier.  So the steps I’ve listed here won’t be as difficult for you.  And you’ll feel better afterwards…trust me.  So give it a try….the only thing you have to lose is the opportunity to gain a few unwanted pounds and inches that you otherwise would have gained.

About Keke

I'm a wife, mother, IT career woman, MBA, fun, loving person who enjoys wearing multiple hats and living life to the fullest. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and have been working in the field of technology for over a decade, which I enjoy very much. Additionally, I'm passionate about fitness and eating well so I'm always researching related topics and enjoy sharing this information with others. My blog merges the things I'm passionate about by turning these topics into what I hope you find are interesting blog posts. So glad you stopped by and hope to see you back here soon!

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