Thanksgiving is a time for family and celebration, laughs and hugs and…food – lots of food.
For those of us who are developing healthy eating habits, the holidays can be very
challenging. But with some proactive planning, many of those challenges can be overcome.
Have you considered whether there are foods you can skip, modify, or substitute to be more
JumpstartMD-friendly? What about simply taking one or two bites and moving on?
Additional tips that will help guide you as you celebrate thanksgiving with friends and family
1. Volunteer to host Thanksgiving. This way you have more control over what foods are served, and you
can make sure to have several JumpstartMD-friendly dishes on hand.
2. Volunteer to bring several dishes if you are not the host. Your host or hostess will think that you are
very gracious – and you can assuage your fears knowing there will be at least a few dishes that
you are comfortable eating. If your host offers you leftovers – graciously accept some turkey, but
pass on the starches and sweets.
3. Fix the perfect plate. Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies, one quarter with turkey
meat, and leave one quarter for a few small bites of those other must-have items, like
stuffing or mashed potatoes – provided you know that you can stop at one or two bites.
4. Is the dessert worth it? Good time to check in and see if those splurge carbs are
valuable enough for a little treat. If your host has slaved-away for hours baking their famous
pumpkin or pecan pie, then maybe you will want to enjoy a small slice. However, if the
dessert was store-bought and not homemade, it may be a good idea to skip it.
5. If you plan to indulge – limit it to one meal only. Thanksgiving is one day, not one week.
This means once you have enjoyed your lovely holiday meal, send others home with the
leftover stuffing, pie, and the like. If you don’t have friends or relatives that would like to
take those starchy leftovers, why not donate to your local food bank?
6. Get out and move on Thanksgiving. Check out your local paper to participate in any
“Turkey Trots” or other organized races this holiday. Go on a walk with your family, or start
your day with an early yoga class before all the cooking begins! Exercise doesn’t give you
an excuse to overeat, but it will make you feel good and refresh your motivation to make
healthier choices for the remainder of the day.
7. Don’t skip breakfast! Make sure to have a combination or protein and a non-starchy
carbohydrate (try scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms, or cottage cheese with
half a pear and some cinnamon) within an hour of waking up to get your day started off
right and prevent you from overeating later.
8. Make lower carb substitutions where you can. Instead of green bean casserole, why
don’t you try green bean almandine, or try sweetening your cranberry sauce with stevia, or
give cauliflower “mashed potatoes” a try? See a few of our suggested recipes below.
9. Limit the booze. We all know that alcohol tends to lower inhibitions, so Thanksgiving is
not a good time to overindulge in holiday drinks. Try to limit yourself to a single glass of red
wine or champagne (or none at all!), savor it slowly, and drink lots of water.
10. Be realistic. If you know that you can’t just take a bite or two of your favorite side or
dessert, then skip it altogether. But if just a taste is plenty, then go ahead and take a bite
of your favorites – eat slowly and mindfully, and return to the turkey.