It’s US Thanksgiving this week so I’m sure, as usual, many of my friends to the south are getting ready to wear their stretchy pants.
However, there’s no need to wear your stretchy pants if you’re equipped with some healthy eating strategies to ensure that you don’t go overboard during the holidays.
Thanksgiving and other holidays are almost always linked to overeating, and that’s why people go into ‘food comas’ after the meal, or require elastic waistbands, or gain weight during the holiday season.
It’s just ONE MEAL, so although it’s a special meal due to the amount of effort that goes into cooking it, and the people you’re sharing with, it’s still just a meal. So treat it as if it is. Eat as much as you would eat at a regular meal, and:
- Slow down. Eat slowly and savour each bite, and you probably won’t feel the need to go for seconds. Your body needs around 20 minutes for satiety signals to kick in, so that’s how long you will need to know if you’re still hungry or not.
- Enjoy the company. That really is what makes Thanksgiving and the holidays special – being with the people you love. So spend more time enjoying the company and less enjoying the food.
- Careful what you drink. Drinking excessively calorific drinks leaves little room for indulging in your favourite foods, so try to stick to one glass of wine or juice with dinner and otherwise drink water.
Dr. Wendy Bazilian has said that studies show that people who fast prior to arriving for a Thanksgiving meal go straight for the fat – fried, heavy and rich foods, and therefore end up eating at least one third more calories than they would have otherwise.
So, don’t starve yourself to ‘save room’ for the big meal. Just treat it like any other day. I promise that you won’t be suffering for it – you won’t miss out! There will be leftovers galore and honestly, even if you don’t eat all of your favourites on Thanksgiving Day, they will be on the table again at Christmas, and next year, and the year after that…so don’t go into a “now or never” mentality, as that is always a guaranteed way to overeat!
Also, here are some healthy vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, courtesy of The Guiltless Life’s recipe archive, to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Stuffed Mushrooms on Herbed Rice
- Red Lentil Soup with Balsamic Onions
- Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Vegetable Quesadilla Casserole
- Mushroom Goat Cheese Quiche
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
- Pilaf-Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Leek, Spinach, Lentil and Potato Pie
- Sweet Potato Lentil Stew
- Chickpea, Carrot and Date Tajine
- Angela’s Double Chocolate Torte
- Sweet Apple Cake
- Orange Sour Cream Bundt Cake
- Better-than-Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (could bake this all in one tin too, for a cake)
- Cozy Fall Apple Walnut Cake
- Better-than-Starbucks’ Ginger Molasses Cookies (great for snacks and for kids)
- Apple Almond Torte
- Baked Apples (this is a detox recipe – for a more indulgent dessert, pour maple syrup in centre of apples too!)
- Gluten-free naturally sweet chocolate souffles
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse-Pudding
- Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Bundt Cake
One surefire way of not overeating is to eat as you always do leading up to the meal. I know many people eat Thanksgiving meal around mid-afternoon, so make sure you fuel up with a healthy breakfast to keep you satiated and help you avoid overeating at the main meal.
Here are some healthy breakfasts the #HealthyBreakfastChallenge participants have been sending in to give you some ideas…
Lucie at Fit Swiss Chick has sent in:
- Spinach-tomato omelet with low-fat Swiss cheese
- Eggs and greens
- Choco-apple quinoa with low-fat plain yogurt and almond butter
- Paleo oatless pumpkin oatmeal with coconut and walnuts
Nadja (on Twitter) has sent in:
- Overnight oats with a mashed banana
- Oats and berries
- Oats and fruit
- Oats with yogurt, banana and a dash of cinnamon
Elle at We Can Begin to Feed has sent in:
- Oatmeal and quinoa breakfast bake
- Banana omelet with natural peanut butter and an orange
- Eggs oat scramble with lean ham, grated cheese, tomato and grapefruit
- A mixture of flax, hemp, chia, raisins, coconut, almonds, banana and almond milk
- Eggs and oats with veggies and grapefruit slices (recipe here)
- Pumpkin protein cake with yogurt
Karey at Nutty About Health sent in:
- Banana ‘n’ Cream Dream French Toast (recipe here)
- Pumpkin pancakes with raisins, sugar-free maple syrup, cinnamon raisin peanut butter and frothy coffee
- Stuffed apple cinnamon ‘n’ cream French toast with peanut butter and fat-free cream cheese (recipe here)
Claire at Flake and Cake sent in:
- Blackcurrant yogurt with fresh strawberries – an on-the-go breakfast
PS. Get entering the Healthy Breakfast Challenge NOW! There will be a giveaway coming up for those readers who have participated in the challenge, and you don’t want to miss it!
PPS I’ve linked this post up at Healthy Diva Eats’ Marvelous in My Monday link party – even if I am a bit late to it! Check out the other posts here!