Thanksgiving Tips: For Your Health and Sanity

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Many of us are under the impression that the Thanksgiving turkey is going to put us into a tryptophan coma; not true, it’s the gorging on high fat, carb-filled foods, along with the turkey that throws your body for a loop, and makes you feel lethargic.  Most Americans starve themselves leading up to meal time, increasing the likelihood that they will binge and overdo it on casseroles, stuffing, and candied yams. Here are some tips on how to keep you and your family sane this holiday:

  • Breakfast: eat a well balanced breakfast that means protein, carbohydrates, and some good fats.  Try Greek yogurt with granola, eggs and toast, a protein shake and a handful of nuts.  By eating normally in the morning, our blood sugar is more balanced (keeping your mood and hunger in check) you reduce your carbohydrate cravings later in the day, and are less likely to go back for seconds during your turkey feast.
  • Eat Turkey: if you’re a vegetarian, get some protein with your meal (chickpeas, Tofurkey, soy sausage).  For a 4 oz serving Turkey has 32 grams of protein.  This amount is perfect for keeping your carbohydrate cravings at bay and creating a balanced meal.
  • Snack: Especially for kids, bringing balanced and healthy snacks with you to your get together, or providing them if your hosting, will allow kiddos from crashing mid-day, decreasing meltdowns at mealtime, and making us all a little more balanced.  A plate of crackers and cheese can go a long way in maintaining your sanity.  Try deviled eggs, veggies and hummus, or a cheese plate. Make sure to get a little protein in.
  • Don’t Skip Desert:  If you’re stuffed, grab a piece and save it for later, however, avoiding it, will only lead you to obsess about it, and crave it later on.  Most of our bodies and minds are accustomed to tradition, meaning after our feast eating a slice of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie.  Try not to fight your cravings, take a smaller slice or save it for after the dishes.
    • If your child/you have a food allergy, bring a desert that is similar to what everyone else is eating.  There is nothing worse than looking around and seeing everyone else indulge in a delicious piece of pumpkin pie; gluten free crusts and pies are available
  • Veggies: In an ideal world, we would have 1/3 of our plate full of salad, steamed green beans, or squash, however most thanksgiving plates look anything but balanced. Try your best to get some greens on your plate. The nutrients speak for themselves, and the fiber will fill you up before you go back for seconds.
  • Be Mindful and Grateful:  Think about what you are eating and enjoy each bite.  When you are rushing through a meal or focused on a fussy baby, you are more likely to eat in a hurry and not enjoy the process.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, come up with a list of things in your life that you are grateful for, this can be personal.  Encourage your children to do the same.  When we sit down our family meal with the gratitude in mind, we are more apt to enjoy our surroundings, even if that means nagging in-laws and holiday stress. What are you thankful for?

Let us know your holiday tips below and have a safe and happy holiday!

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  1. Meagan says:

    Hey friend! Love the holiday tips! Quick question about holiday workouts. What is the best time of day to burn off all that turkey? Pre or post Thanksgiving meals?

  2. admin says:

    Great Question Meagan! A good work out pre-meal will help you feel better about your consumption later on…However, if your stuck in the kitchen all day, nothing like a nice walk after or a great sweat session the next day. Either way- its good to keep moving.

    Take Care!


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