Family is coming into town. They are staying with you. They are looking to connect, hang out, see the sights. And then there is that huge Thanksgiving meal! Is this the beginning of the end for your fitness routine and healthy eating habits?
It does not have to be. There are so many things about visits from family and the onset of the holiday festivities that can be a blessing instead of a curse. Think of the changes to your routine as a way to shake things up in your workout schedule rather than tossing it out the window.
Let’s start with the eating, since that is the biggest concern for many of us who are typically light eaters or restrict our diets to only the most healthy treats.
Number One: Look on the Light Side
Sure there will be plenty of turkey and stuffing, and starchy potatoes, and ladles full of gravy! The smell alone may break you, but look on the light side. When it comes down to it there are as many dishes to load up on as there are to avoid. Pass the mashed potatoes in favor of sweet potatoes, skipping the marshmallowy topping of course. Instead of heaping on the stuffing, opt for the greens on the table. Green bean casseroles and brussel sprouts are great sides to the main course.
Number Two: Flip the Bird
That brings us to that giant bird in the room. There is nothing wrong with some good turkey, unless it is drowning in gravy. White meat is a better choice because it is not as greasy as the darker meat, but the temptation to pour on the gravy and not choke on dry meat is there. That is where those tasty cranberry or orange relishes come in. While still higher in sugar than nothing at all they are a great alternative to the heavyweight gravy.
Number Three: Seconds and Slices
Worse than the types of food is the amount that we often consume on the big Thanksgiving feast day. No one says you have to eat it all! Think of the Thanksgiving table as the buffet at a restaurant. Take only what you know is the appropriate portion size for your diet and do not go back for seconds. There is always tomorrow to much on those left overs.
Dessert may be the real kicker. Avoiding it all together will only cause you to midnight snack it when no one is looking. Allow yourself a treat, but keep the slices small and avoid heavy toppings. Choosing a slice of apple or pumpkin pie and a nice cup of tea will be more satisfying than sulking in the corner while your family and friends enjoy theirs.
One of the tendencies is to binge out and wonder why we feel awful afterwards. Enjoy conversation, drink plenty of water, and listen to when your body says you are full. There is no reason to starve on a day that is about good food and abundance, but moderation is key.