5 Tips To A Healthy Holiday

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Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving? I feel like this year was literally 5 seconds long. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Let’s go with a good thing. Just because I like good things.

Thanksgiving seems to be one of those holidays where you aren’t sure whether to be excited or freaking out. It typically means more time spent with friends, family, either at home or traveling, and taking time to appreciate the little things. But to that same point, there are a lot of stressful questions that come to mind: Who is all going to be at dinner? Will there be any healthy options? Is my grandmother going to pester me about my nonexistent love life yet again? How am I going to control my urge to eat all the desserts?!

I get it. I feel you. Deep breaths. OK— now let’s take some of the pressure off.

Below are my 5 greatest tips for keeping Thanksgiving, and the holidays in general, manageable, healthy, and most importantly enjoyable!

  1. Don’t Make it about the food. It’s Thanksgiving, which people automatically associate with a huge feast, and to no fault of their own. That’s what it is right, I mean what’s Thanksgiving without the Turkey and stuffing and gravy and pumpkin pie? Well, believe it or not, it’s actually still Thanksgiving, and I encourage everyone to make it less about the food and more about the people. You’re likely going to see friends and family you don’t normally get to see on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, so rather than constantly stressing out about how you’re going to burn off all that food before you even eat it, let’s shift our focus to those around us. People love talking about themselves, so when you feel yourself drifting over to the dessert table out of boredom, ask you uncle about his new woodworking hobby.

  2. Don’t treat it any differently than a regular flex meal. It’s become the norm— and the biggest trap around Thanksgiving— to expect to put yourself into a food coma. There’s this idea that just because there is a feast in front of you, you have to go all out and pile a mountain of food on your plate as if it’s your last meal. People also tend to eat very little during the day leading up to Thanksgiving in order to “save room,” but that’s just setting yourself up to be STARVING at dinner, and ultimately overeating {commence the self-loathing}. Instead, treat Thanksgiving just like you would any other flex meal that you incorporate into your week. Having a normal, balanced breakfast and a light lunch or snack, depending on what time of day you have your turkey dinner. If you haven’t checked out my post on flex meals, be sure to do so, and you’ll see that giving yourself a “cheat” meal doesn’t have to mean going off course! Allow yourself to have what you want without regrets, just don’t have more than you’d normally have at any other dinner.

  3. Crowd the plate with veggies. Before you start loading up your plate, survey the options and take note of what you’re going to treat yourself to, and what healthier dishes you’re going to load up on. By filling most of your plate with veggies (think green beans and carrots, not spinach casserole or sour-creamed mashed potatoes), you’ll keep your meal nutritious while saving a little room on your plate to satisfy your cravings for the more indulgent foods.

  4. Keep active. The key to bouncing back from any successful flex meal is to make sure you get some movement into your day before and after the meal. There’s no need to exhaust yourself into the ground with a HIIT workout or 10 mile run, but even just a 15-30 minute cardio workout followed by some light resistance and/or yoga the morning of will get your metabolism going and help you digest the meal all the more efficiently. To really seal the deal, go for a walk with your family after the meal to prevent a spike in blood sugar (and keep you from hitting the dessert table more than once!)

  5. Take some time for yourself. Amongst all the chaos that can be the holidays, take even just 10 minutes of solitude to meditate, stretch, go for a solo walk, listen to a podcast or TED talk, read— whatever gets you to calm that nervous system and feel in control. You’d be surprised how much this helps.