Creating a Winning Thanksgiving Plate

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we want you to be ready to practice balance and enjoy your holiday with those around you! Contrary to what you see online or hear from others, we won’t be telling you how to burn off those holiday calories or how many burpees it takes to make up for the pumpkin pie you ate. We won’t make you feel guilty or ashamed for enjoying yourself. 

The reality is: holiday eating makes up a SMALL percentage of our diet throughout the year. A few holiday meals aren’t going to ruin your progress, we promise. But what will impact your progress is your mindset regarding holiday eating.

When you allow yourself all foods (without labeling them as “good” or “bad”), it is much easier to eat in moderation and not feel like you have to eat everything in sight. Here are our tips to build a balanced plate, along with what to do with those holiday leftovers. BUT if you happen to eat more than usual on Thanksgiving, it truly isn’t the end of the world. Aim for better, not perfect.

  1. Add protein. As you’ve been learning so far throughout the program, protein matters! Adding protein to your plate can help you feel more satisfied and satiated. Aim for about ¼ of your plate to be protein. Choose either white or dark meat, either works (trust us, it’s not that serious).
  2. Fill up 1/4 of your plate with veggies! Find green beans, brussels sprouts, salad, etc.
  3. Fill the rest of your plate with your favorites. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese (stuffing is my personal favorite!). 

Once you’ve built your plate, enjoy it! Savor the holiday smells, the flavors, and the company around you. If you find yourself hungry for another plate, take some time to drink some water and allow your body to begin to process what you just had. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself about 15-20 minutes before heading back for more. This allows your brain to become aware of what you ate and develop sensations of your fullness level. 

After enjoying your delicious meal, go ahead and have your favorite dessert. Have a piece of whatever you love. Practice the same method of allowing time between finishing your dessert and going for more. 

If you eat a little extra than planned, don’t freak out. You aren’t alone! Remember: food serves a much bigger purpose than just physical. It is okay to eat your favorite holiday foods. Maybe it is a recipe from a family member that you only get once a year. Maybe it is a food that brings back fond memories from past holidays. Food brings us together, enjoy it in the moment.

I overate on Thanksgiving, now what do I do?!” 

This is a question we hear often throughout the holidays from clients. The day after Thanksgiving, eat how you normally would. Be sure to drink lots of water, as the foods from the day before can leave you feeling dehydrated. Do not try to compensate by eating less or working out more. Just do your routine as normal, and you’ll be hitting those goals as you always do!

One thing many people struggle with once the holiday passes is the amount of leftovers they still have. Here are some ways to transform your leftovers into nutritious meals:

  1. Easy Ways to Turn Thanksgiving Leftovers Into Healthy Meals- Eating Well
  2. 20 Healthy Recipes to Make With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers- Meal Prep On Fleek

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