• Don’t have it in the house. You CAN control what’s in your fridge and pantry!Throw out that Halloween candy now (you can do it). Don’t stock up on cakes, and sugary drinks and you won’t be tempted to eat them. If your family wants a holiday treat, suggest a dessert place they can go and ask them not to bring home “leftovers.” You can also create a healthy dessert alternative . Let your friends and family know about your health goals and ask for their support.
• Eat before you eat. Don’t attend the Thanksgiving meal on an empty stomach. (Many people think that skipping meals on the big day will help them save calories, but studies show the opposite is true.) Instead, start your day with a healthy, high-fiber breakfast such as oatmeal and blueberries. Then, have a midday protein shake with a handful of vegetables. This has plenty of fiber to keep you satiated so you don’t overeat at the table.
• Eat small portions of just your favorites. Use a tablespoon – not a serving spoon – to place a small portion of your favorite foods on your plate. Skip any foods that you don’t absolutely love. This way you’ll be able to taste all of your favorites without overeating any of them. Eat slowly and try to be mindful as you eat; if you chat all the way through your meal you’ll feel less satisfied and will be tempted to eat more or snack later.
• Don’t linger. Once you’ve finished your meal, offer to help clean dishes; take the kids (or the family dog) for a walk; or start a game of catch outside. You can also grab one of your favorite relatives and sit in another room to catch up, or pull out some old family movies or DVDs and gather everyone together to watch.
• Don’t come empty-handed. When you are invited to a holiday meal, offer to bring a dish – and then make it a healthy one. Bring a vegetable tray; a tray of mixed natural nuts; a bowl of roasted red and green peppers with a variety of olives. Now you will have something healthy to eat! (You can use this tip when you are the host, too!)
• Drink up! Fill a glass with sparkling water and lime and sip on it throughout the meal. It’s a great alternative to sugar-laden alcoholic drinks or wine. Sipping water throughout the day will also help you refrain from mindless eating and drinking!
• Be generous. Don’t be tempted by leftover pies, potatoes, sauces, and stuffing. A few days before Thanksgiving, stock up on disposable storage containers so you can send your guests home with all the leftovers. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it!
• Get back on track fast. Even if you did eat more than usual at your Thanksgiving meal, don’t throw in the towel for the rest of the weekend! Wake up at your regular time the next day and have a glass of warm water with lemon within an hour of waking. Lemon acts as a natural detoxifier to help you eliminate sugar and other toxins. Head to the gym; or go for a walk or bike ride. Have a high-fiber lunch such as vegetarian chili or soup. And continue to drink plenty of water throughout the day (aim for half your weight in ounces of water each day.) The faster you get back on track, the less chance you’ll have of gaining weight or feeling uncomfortable symptoms.
• Be good to yourself. While it may feel good in the moment to indulge in that pumpkin pie or stuffing, Thanksgiving meal foods often make us feel bad. They typically contain loads of sugar, salt, processed ingredients, and saturated fat. If you notice you feel bloated, congested, headache-y or itchy, chances are you’re having food-related symptoms. For example, wine contains histamines, which can cause congestion and/or sinus headaches. Carbs and sugary foods wreak havoc on our blood sugar levels, and we feel tired, moody or depressed after the “sugar high.” Be good to yourself by choosing foods that help you feel energized, in control, confident, and symptom-free!