Updated: Jan 1, 2019
Give thanks, spend time with famliy, and enjoy some bomb food. It's easy to over indulge though, which can send you on downward spiral until after the new year, once all the food focus festivities begin to calm down. As you'll learn in this article, a little prep can lead to less regret.
Get Your Fitness On
Do something active in the morning to get that metabolism going! No time for the regular gym session (or don't have concept of regular gym session)? Here are some other options: a quick 15 minute jog or brisk walk; power through 2 sets of 15 push ups, 15 squats, and 15 sits ups; the Scientific 7-Minute Workout, which is an effective, high-intensity interval training circuit full of squats, lunges and jumping jacks.
Added bonus of breaking a morning sweat: elevated endorphins and other mood boosters, which is likely to come in handy for your family gathering.
Focus on Your Peeps
Yes, the food is awesome and everywhere! But you can't shovel food into your face if you're talking.
Make it a point to focus on family and friends. Engage, ask questions and become a part of the conversation. Don't keep your phone on you- that only makes it easier to get lost in your own virtual world vs focusing on your people while appreciating the food.
Plant-base that meal, ya'll... and your life. Pretty sure we're all aware of the reasons to switch to an animal-free diet: animal welfare, health, environment, etc. - so I'll spare you. But many people still think it's too hard - but pshhh, it's not! Here are a bunch of vegan Thanksgiving recipes. If you think a whole meal is too much - just try a few.
Slow Your Roll with the Appetisers
Calories from appetizers can really add up! Even if you technically fill up on the apps, it's unlikely that you're going to eat less when the main food comes out.
Don't hang out by the appetizers. I repeat, do not hang out by the appetizers. Take a small plate and walk away. You'll thank yourself later.
Bring a Healthy Dish to Share
Prep ahead and bring a dish you know you can eat. Load up on this healthy dish, then sample the other more indulgent dishes. Need some inspiration? Here are 34 Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving.
Mind Your Booze
Enjoy and have a few drinks, but remember: mind your booze.
Not only are you likely to overeat if you're drunkified, that booze also adds extra calories. So choose bevs that are lower in calories, like wine and light beer. If you have no idea what is less calories, check out this Drink Calorie Calculator. Have a glass of water with each drink since you never want to be that person...especially at a family gathering. Also, know your triggers: if your family is likely to give you that "OMG - I need a drink" feeling, take a 10 minute break every hour to regain your calm, vs over drinking.
Indulge (In Moderation)
Don't just bitterly eat carrot sticks while everyone else passes the mashed potatoes and weird meats. This is a holiday full of awesome food - let yourself eat the things you are craving. Eat some mashed potatoes, enjoy that casserole, have that little slice of pie...
But instead of loading up your plate, take small portions (I suggest loading your plate with one scoop less than you already consider a 'small' serving) eat slowly allowing yourself to really savor the food. Don't recreate a scene from Jaws - actually chew your food and appreciate the textures, flavors, and time put into creating the dish.
Also, don't grab the biggest saucer like dish you can find and eat with a pitchfork. Use smaller plates and smaller utensils.
Have Post Meal Plans
Instead of fully embracing the food-coma and chalking up remainder of day as a loss due to your food baby, make some plans, baby! Doing so will prevent you from eating to the point you can no longer move. In addition to making yourself useful with post meal clean up, make plans to visit with friends, take the dog for a walk, just something to remind you not to become useless once the food is put away.