Thanksgiving is almost here! Last year at this time I was panicking about going to my Mother’s for Thanksgiving. And I couldn’t figure out why. I had gotten into the groove of portion control and exercise and loading up on veggies. So why did I still feel like I would fail? I finally figured it out. I have always been a cook – so making my meals wasn’t a new thing. But making sure that 50% of my plate is veggies was. Finally I realized that at my Mom’s house, I would be surrounded by my favorite stuffing recipe, a wealth of cheesetastic appetizers, mashed potatoes and gobs and gobs of butter. And I realized what made me feel freaked out was that I realized that I never make piles of mashed potatoes and sausage stuffing and tell myself to not eat them. I wasn’t sure if I could practice my perfect portion control in the presence of my classic comfort foods. But I see from my nerdy Excel sheet that I actually lost 1 pound at the weigh in after Thanksgiving – so it is possible!
Not that I am the perfect person to give advice as I am the woman who hangs out at the buffet table asking "Are you going to finish that?" But anyway, here are some strategies for Holiday meals:
- Start the day with your normal healthy breakfast - protein may stay with you longer than fiber - but listen to what your body likes.
- Don’t starve yourself during the day to “save” points or calories for the big meal. Eat small meals before the big show, and you won’t be starving.
- Get some exercise before the meal – or encourage your guests to take a walk afterward with you.
- Plan ahead! Decide what you’ll be eating, so you don’t fall on top of the double cream brie first (like I usually do). I think that most hosts will be willing to share with you that their first course will be bacon wrapped shrimp, or a spinach salad.
- If you’re not hosting, bring a veggie side dish that you know you can eat a lot of and feel full, while not doing yourself in.
- Consider starting the meal with a broth soup. Participants who ate a broth based soup ate less than those who didn’t. It is slow to eat, and filling.
- Make 50% of your plate veggies. Do marshmallow yams count as veggies? I don’t think so – but if it is all you’ve got, go for it! A thin woman in my office says she eats all of her vegetables first at every meal. That's a good one!
- Turkey is a lean protein – so take off the skin and you’re ahead of the game. (I love crispy turkey skin!)
- Scrape the pumpkin pie filling out of the crust, and you’re saving major calories.
- Drink your water! Sometimes we interpret thirst as hunger. Weird.
- Give yourself permission to eat what you want. If I tell myself I can’t have something, I eventually binge on that item. So I’ll be having sausage stuffing this year – just one serving.
I don't know that I'll follow all of these, because mmmm stuffing, rolls, butter, oh my! But they'll always be in the back of my mind, so I'm sure the intent will make a difference, and I'll be strong. We can do it! I’ve got some great recipes for replacing fat laden favorites that I’ll be posting soon! What are you doing for the holidays?