Tis the time of year where people start saying “this year
will be different!” “This is the year I stay healthy during the holidays!” “I’m
not going to wait until New Years to lose weight!”
Thanksgiving begins a 5-6 week stretch of being constantly surrounded
by festive cocktails, decorated cookies, and decadent sauces. So this year,
instead of telling yourself you’ll diet through the holidays, try eating
smarter instead of feeling deprived.
Drink Water. Drink a lot of it. Not only will
water make your skin glow nicer in that holiday dress, it will flush excess
water stored in the body (aka- bloating) and make you feel fuller and snack
less. Drinking a full glass of water 20 minutes before a meal will help your
body differentiate between thirst and hunger.
Watch alcohol calories. On the low end, a glass
of wine or sparkling champagne will cost you 120-150 calories. But that spiked
eggnog? That could be the equivalent of a small meal! Be conscious of your
beverage choice and it could save you a few hundred calories.
Make smart swaps at dinner & parties. Here’s
some examples of easy swaps that will leave you satisfied:
- 4 oz white meat w/o skin 195 calories vs. 4 oz dark meat with skin 400
-Pumpkin pie w/ low fat whip cream 335
calories vs. Pecan pie 450 calories
-Substitute coconut or almond milk in
recipes or coconut oil for butter
Think smart, not skinny. Eat your fill of meats and vegetables. Flavor sides
with garlic, lemon and herbs, rather than cream, cheese, and butter.
Sloooooooow dooooowwwwnn. It takes 20 min for
your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. Most people will finish an entire
plate of food in less than 10. It’s no wonder we think we need seconds! Our
body can’t keep up with our mouths. Try setting your fork down in between each
bite. And even if you eat all your food a little too fast, don’t allow yourself
to reach for more until that 20min is up. Then reassess.
Banish the bread bowl. Trust me- I know how much
this sucks. I love bread. I know you love bread. Did you know there’s a
chemical reason you love bread? Gluten- the main protein that composes wheat,
attaches to a receptor in our brain that opiates attach to. It’s one of the
only foods that does that, and that’s why we get that wonderful feeling in our
hearts when we think of a warm basket of bread. So don’t even start the
downward spiral! Eliminate it from the menu if you can. And if you can’t-
consider it off limits.
Exercise that day. The closer to the party/meal
that you can comfortably exercise, do it. Just enough to get your heart rate up
and maybe even a little sweat. This will release feel good endorphins that will
keep you from turning to food for comfort. It also makes you eat more
Don’t starve yourself up until the big event.
Unless you are eating Thanksgiving at 11am, it’s a good idea to have a small,
but substantial breakfast. Something like an egg sandwich or oatmeal with nuts
and berries is a great meal that will start your metabolism for the day. It
will also keep you from being so hungry by the time you sit down to eat- that
you won’t scarf down your plate in 3 minutes. (Remember rule #4?)
Quality beats quantity. Whenever possible, keep
in mind which vegetables are high on the pesticide list and therefore should be
eaten organic. Some of the major pesticide ridden holiday favorites are:
potatoes, carrots, celery, spinach/greens, and apples. Organic poultry can be
incredibly pricey- but if you have a source of local meat that was able to live
a normal poultry life- it will reflect in tastier meat. Same goes for eggs and
dairy. Local and organic will produce tastier and healthier dishes.
Add root vegetables and parsley to the meal. My
favorite is cubed up turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil,
salt, pepper, and herbs in an oven at 400 degrees for 45min. Beets and parsley
are great because they stimulate the body to release necessary enzymes to
digest food properly.
Fill you plate like a caveman. Have you heard of
this whole “paleo thing”? It’s a trending diet that suggests eating like our
ancestors did, limiting the amount of grains and legumes. So try to fill half
your plate with vegetables, ¼ with meat, and then if you really need that
stuffing or cornbread- put that in the last ¼ of the plate.
It may seem like a lot of rules, but most of it is common
sense. And if you come across something that completely breaks all of the
rules, then follow the advice that the wise Mariah Carey once gave me (not in
person- on the Ellen show in case you were wondering). Only have 1 bite, and
savor the heck out of it!
Want to know what I’m eating this Thanksgiving?
I’m a fan of a few classics like a well cooked turkey and a
flavorful pumpkin pie. But I really enjoy playing with the sides! Some of these
don’t follow “the rules” but don’t get all sassy with me… I’m human too ya know