Navigating the Thanksgiving Table

How do we get through Thanksgiving without going overboard with all the good food and drinks coming our way? We all want to be healthy but struggle throughout the year with food choices. And Thanksgiving is no different. Let’s face it, we don’t live in the most health conscious environment right now.
Our goal for health should really be transforming the way we eat and think about food as a lifestyle all year long. This would actually make the Holidays much easier to navigate and not worry about weight gain. But I know that most of us just aren’t there yet, so I wanted to give 10 tips to navigate through Thanksgiving without sabotaging your health.

1. Always, always, always eat breakfast. You should always eat breakfast everyday, even Thanksgiving Day! By skipping a meal to save your calories so you can eat more later you just walk yourself into a trap. Make sure it’s a good hearty breakfast.

2. Fill Up at Lunch. Again, never skip a meal so you can eat more later. You just sabotage yourself later. You really do eat less when you walk into a meal NOT starving as opposed to getting so hungry you eat everything at the table and seconds too!

3. Use Smaller Plates. If you use smaller plates, you actually come out eating less. And you can practice this throughout the year too. You can fill that small plate so it looks quite packed with food and it will still be less than if you served yourself on a large plate.

4. Eat really slow! It’s called eating mindfully. Enjoy the food you are eating. Savor it! Make that one plate last the whole dinner. By eating slower and actually enjoying your meal, you get full on less and you eat less. During dinner, engage in conversation and catch up with your friends and family between bites. This will help you put your fork down and slow down.

5. Snack Smart – Smart snacking requires you to be proactive. Choose the black olives that are in a bowl out for everyone, or snack from a veggie tray. Don’t snack on high carb or sugary items. And be sure to get enough water throughout the day as that actually helps with the snacking. So hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

6. Choose your food wisely. Be cognizant of the food you are piling up on your plate. Fill your plate with more veggies and healthier choices and go lighter with the foods you know are not as healthy. As an example, put more green beans, salad, lean turkey and Brussels sprouts on your plate and less candied sweet potatoes, jello salad and rolls on your plate. You want to walk away full and satisfied but not stuffed with all the foods you will feel guilty about later.

7. Bring a Healthy Dish of Your Own. Pitch in! By bringing your own dish and contributing to the foods offered, you actually can add more good healthy food choices at the table. This gives you better choices to choose from and you may be surprised as other people around the table may be wishing there was better choices as well. You can also offer to bring something good to snack on.

8. Get Active! Cooking and spending lots of time puttering around the kitchen not only earns you kudos at the dinner table, but it’ll also burn calories. Cooking in general is movement. It’s not the exercise you think of when you are told to “move your body”. However, cooking, cleaning, and prepping are all great ways to keep active. And if you help clean up after (again, moving your body) you will win gold stars with your host. Also, if you normally exercise, don’t skip it that day.

9. Go Easy on Alcohol. Don’t forget those alcohol calories do add up quickly. Make sure you drink lots of water in between those alcoholic drinks on Thanksgiving as well to spread out your drinks. I too love a glass of wine for dinner but I try to at least keep it in check!

10. Remember what Thanksgiving is all about. Be sure to take time on Thanksgiving and really count your blessings. It’s a day to be grateful for what you have, your friends and your family. Splurge yourself on spending time with the ones you love and not focus so much on the food. It is in fact what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about.

If you find that you would like to learn more on how to be healthy all year round, contact me at