The holidays are prefect for celebrating, but aren’t exactly ideal for healthy eating. Fortunately, you can make it through the holidays with your figure intact. The most important thing is to be aware of common traps that can pile on the pounds which is why I’m sharing some important do’s and don’ts for surviving Thanksgiving dinner.
Time to pack on the fun, not the pounds this holiday season!
1. Don’t Starve Yourself
Although it’s tempting to “save” your calories for one enormous feast, your body isn’t capable of digesting that much food at once. There is a limit to how many calories you can utilize at one time, and any excess nutrients are stored as unwanted fat. This Thanksgiving, try eating a light breakfast and lunch to avoid feeling starved by the time dinner is served.
2. Do Enjoy the Turkey
Just be smart about what pieces you choose. Turkey breast is a great source of lean protein and is a perfect choice for dinner. Avoid the skin and thighs because these contain hundreds of unwanted calories. They also have been drowned in salt and butter, neither of which will make you feel good about yourself the next day.
3. Don’t Assume Vegetables Are Healthy
Candied beets, cream of spinach, broccoli and cheese… bring on the stretchy pants? While all of these side dishes were once healthy vegetables, they have been transformed into caloric bombs. If it’s something you’re really craving, then opt for a small portion as opposed to a mountain piled high on your plate.
4. Do Enjoy Your Favorite Dish
Is someone making your favorite homemade mac-and-cheese or apple pie? If so, it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself to a few bites (or even a few more than a few bites). As long as you don’t bring home the entire container of leftovers with you, you shouldn’t miss out on this once or twice a year opportunity.
5. Don’t Overload Your Plate
Although you may be talented enough to fit the entire kitchen on your plate, I wouldn’t recommend trying. It can be very hard to decide what to eat when there are tons of delicious options in front of you. Remember, you don’t need to eat everything, but you can try a lot of things. Start with only a spoonful of each side, as opposed to a huge serving. You can always go back for seconds if you really want them.
6. Do Participate in Holiday Traditions
Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the company of your friends and family. Personally, our tradition is to decorate the house for Christmas before dinner. What better way to burn extra calories than by walking up and down steps all morning! Is football a tradition in your family? If so, get out there and run around… Besides, you don’t have to be good to burn calories.
7. Don’t Wear Oversized Clothing
Sounds silly right? But huge clothing can actually promote overindulgence. I know I’m a lot less likely to keep eating if it means I’ll have to walk around with my top button undone. While grandma may not approve of a crop top or mini skirt, jeans and a form fitting long sleeve shirt are great choices for this Thanksgiving.
8. Do Shop Off the Calories The Next Day
Black Friday sales and shopping mall chaos… Sounds like a great form of cardio to me! Wear your sneakers, park far away, and outrun the lady darting for the last pair of boots at Nordstrom. You’ll be ready to enjoy leftovers by the time you’re done this workout!
9. Don’t Feel Guilty Afterwards
You’ve finished reading this entire article and are prepared for the big day. However, there’s a chance that you may still succumb to the endless dinner rolls, stuffing, gravy, and homemade apple pie… WHO CARES! Calling yourself fat, blaming yourself for eating too much, and claiming to be a failure at life will NOT get you any skinnier. It’s one day and unless you managed to eat an extra 3500 calories, then you didn’t even gain a pound from all your overindulgences!
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Alyse Scaffidi is the founder of Bite Sized Fitness. She is a Doctorate of Pharmacy student and knows how hard it is to make time for your health. Check out the sites below for more motivational tips, delicious recipes, and ideas for healthy eating.