Tips for A Healthy and Guilt-Free Thanksgiving
Hi! Carina here, resident Territory nutritionist, Whole30 coach and avid health guru with some holiday pro tips. Whether you’re a macro counter or you just try to not make sugar and gluten the star of every meal, the holiday season can be a tempting derailing opportunity for intentional eaters across the spectrum.
On one hand, we want to let go and enjoy the season with our friends and family. With an abundance of holiday parties, increased travel, and colder weather, the thought of skipping the gym and eating cookies as a meal can certainly be enticing. On the other hand, we prioritize healthy eating and regular exercise, do we really want to change our routine and potentially lose some of the amazing habits we have formed for a few weeks of indulgence?!
As we quickly approach the holiday centered around food, how do we balance staying on track with our health goals while also indulging on a day notorious for heavy and sugary food?
What if you could strike a balance this Thanksgiving? What if you could ease up on your health routine, without losing all of the progress you have made?
These 6 tips can help you do just that and set you up for an epic Thanksgiving full of nourishment — both physically and emotionally.
- Start your day off with a large glass of water and some veggies: This is a move you won’t regret. Getting some water in first thing will help keep you hydrated through the day, especially if alcohol is in the forecast. Eating vegetables at breakfast is a daily routine for me. I find that when I eat some veggies with my first meal of the day, it not only sets me up to continue eating them throughout the day, but it helps me feel like I’ve gotten in some good nutrients even if later meals aren’t as vegetable-rich.
- Get that body moving: Thanksgiving is not necessarily the day for your heaviest deadlift (that would be the day AFTER Thanksgiving so you can put all that pie and stuffing to good use!), but moving your body in some capacity will definitely help you feel your best during the day. I like to run the turkey trot with my friends/family on Thanksgiving morning, but if running is not your jam, go for a walk with your family, or do a 10–15 minute bodyweight workout in your garage. Just a little something to get the blood flowing will help you not feel so bogged down when you’re full of turkey.
3. Drink water all day long: Seriously. In between every alcoholic drink, get in 8 oz of water. Friday will be much kinder to you, I promise.
4. Eat whatever looks amazing to you at your feast, skip what doesn’t: Today is not the day to diet or restrict yourself from the foods that bring your soul joy. Thanksgiving only comes one day per year, and you aren’t going to totally fall off the wagon by eating 2 of those amazing homemade rolls, or an extra serving of pecan pie. That being said, it’s important to be intentional with your choices. If you aren’t really into pecan pie, don’t bother — it’s not worth it. If stuffing is your favorite thing on earth and you look forward to it every year, pile it on your plate! Eat the things that sound delicious to you, but don’t force yourself to eat things that you aren’t really into.
5. Honor your hunger and fullness cues: When you are full, STOP. I promise, the leftovers will still be there later that evening, or tomorrow. Gorging yourself to the point of sickness won’t do you any good. You may end up a little over-full, and that’s cool, but be present with your meal so that you recognize the signals your body sends to you when it’s had enough. You can always come back for more later.
6. The next day, return to your regularly scheduled programming: Did you overeat on Thanksgiving? Cool. Did you eat just the right amount? Great. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter — one day won’t derail you completely, as long as you wake up the next day and go back to how you were eating before. No need to restrict yourself if you overate the day before, and no need to start a diet. On the other hand, no need to continue the holiday through the weekend by eating everything in sight, regardless of your hunger levels. I guarantee, if you eat an entire pie between Thursday-Sunday, you probably won’t feel great the next week. It won’t be worth it. PRO TIP: have something on hand that is ready to eat (like a Territory meal — see what I did there?) so that you know you have a healthy, nutrient-dense meal waiting for you on Friday.
No need for extremes. No need for guilt or holiday anxiety. Enjoy your day, take care of your body, and remember that the company you’re in is WAY more important than the food you eat. Happy Thanksgiving!