Tips & Mindset Shifts for a Healthier Thanksgiving {& Recipes Too!}

When I hear people talk about what they ate on Thanksgiving day, the language sounds a lot like "so stuffed," "had to unbutton my pants," "too many mashed potatoes," accompanied by guilt-laden moans and groans. 

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I was once caught in that cycle mentality when it came to the holidays: from Thanksgiving to New Years, I'd overindulge, thinking I could just exercise away my poor food (and drink) choices, only to feel bloated and frustrated with my lack of "willpower." It has been years since I have felt the need to "get back on track" after Thanksgiving (or after the holiday season in general), and it's mainly because I don't treat the meal that much differently than the other 364 dinners I eat throughout the year. 

We have been accustomed to think overeating and Thanksgiving go hand-in-hand, and while I'll admit I probably eat a little more than I normally do, I walk away from the table feeling satisfied, happy, grateful, and energized. Yes, energized! 

All it takes are some simple mindset shifts:

  • Make a plan and stay mindful. This is where a visualization exercise can really come in handy. Put pen to paper (a powerful thing), and write down how you want to feel at the end of the day. How do you want to feel the next day? Then take the necessary action steps to help you achieve those feelings. Continue to check-in with yourself, and ask if your current choices are taking you toward or away from your goals. 
  • Let go of the all-or-nothing mentality. You will eat again. There will be another Thanksgiving and another opportunity for pie. There is no need to eat your meal as if it was your last. On that note, be sure to have a blood sugar balancing breakfast so you're not starving by the time you sit down. So many people refuse to eat anything beforehand, which is not a recipe for success (food pun intended).
  • Fill up on protein and greens first. Yes, Thanksgiving meals normally consist of rich side dishes and all the starchy carbs, but surely some greens are being served. And don't forget the main attraction: turkey, which is a pure source of protein. If simple roasted vegetables or leafy greens are not a part of your holiday feast, offer to contribute!  
  • Watch your alcohol intake. I love a delicious glass (or two) of fine wine on Thanksgiving day, but long gone are the days I over-imbibe. Alcohol consumption signals to your body you have ingested a toxic substance, so it will put food digestion on the back-burner in order to take care of the toxic substance first. As a result, anything extra (i.e. the huge meal you consume simultaneously) will not be burned as fuel and therefore stored instead. 
  • Create space between dinner and dessert. If you dump the sweet stuff in your system immediately after eating a large meal, not only will this wreak havoc on your blood sugar, but it will overtax your digestion. That fatigue you experience after the Thanksgiving feast? No, it's not the tryptophan found in turkey. It's because your body is being overworked to digest all the food you just ate. Ideally, we should eat until our stomach is two-thirds full, so that there is room to "churn" and your digestive system can do its job. 
  • Focus on other things besides the food. Food might be a big part of what Thanksgiving is about, but it's also about family, friends, and feelings of gratitude. Turn your focus towards what really matters. Enjoy, and even indulge a bit, but don't make it all about eating. 

Click on the photos below to find the recipes for the dishes that I will be making this week! Nothing too fancy or complicated, but real, delicious food none-the-less. And if you think you would like some support being the healthiest version of yourself this holiday season, please contact me

Elizabeth FuquaComment