It’s here! The turkey is in the oven, the pumpkin pie is ready, and you cannot wait to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. I think it’s absolutely possible to enjoy all Thanksgiving has to offer, including the downtime and delicious food, and still feel your lightest, brightest self the next day.
Here’s how to stay healthy throughout the festivities on Thanksgiving day.
Keep to your healthy habits as much as possible: drink your water as soon as you wake up, keep your coffee organic, and keep your breakfast protein, fat and fibre based, with at least two servings of veggies. Any of my Breakfast Smoothies are ideal, or if you are brunching with family consider eggs, salmon, avocado greens and a little fresh fruit. Take your usual supplements, especially your probiotic.
Tip: Adding cinnamon to your smoothie can help insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance.
Workout: for many reasons, mostly because it feels great! Working out Thanksgiving morning is going to help with insulin sensitivity (meaning you will be able to turn that pumpkin pie into lean muscle rather than inflammatory fat), it will help with stress levels throughout the day, and will help with gut health and digestion (remember our GI system is electrical, chemical and mechanical). If its warm enough aim to get outside as he daylight will help you feel bright and energized, and try and include your loved ones if they are game!
Create a time window: every family is different, but we enjoy our Thanksgiving meal around 4pm in the afternoon. This makes it incredibly easy to start the celebrations just after 12pm and continue long into the evening, so I create a mental ‘time window’ in which to enjoy my holiday treats.
Light hunch: if like me you don’t eat your Thanksgiving meal until later in the day don’t be scared to enjoy a light lunch of salad or soup. Starving yourself until the main meal is the worst thing you can do – you’ll have no self-control over your choices, and will be more likely to store what you eat as fat rather than utilizing it for fuel.
Stay hydrated: keep that water coming in (you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces every day), and limit alcohol drinks to your time window (as above).
Head out for a walk before you eat: walking is one of the most underrated ways of helping insulin sensitivity (how well you use use carbs for energy) and will help you digest your meal. Even just a 20 minute walk around the block can be hugely beneficial.
Wear ‘real person’ clothes: no matter how comfortable you are with your loved ones, save the yoga pants and PJ’s for post dinner couch time. Wearing clothes that make you feel like your best self will have you act like your best self, and a non-elasticated waistband will serve as a gentle reminder when reaching for that second serving of pie…
Start right and light: we love to start our celebrations with a big platter of apps and a glass of wine, but instead of calorie rich, nutrient poor processes snacks we enjoy protein and veggie based apps such as veggie sticks with guac and salsa, nitrate free deli meats, goats and sheep cheese with gluten free crackers or healthier chips such as those from Siete Foods.
Choose quantity, or quality: decide before you eat if you want one big serving of something delicious, or a bite of everything (I’m a bite of everything kinda girl)…
Build a smart slate: if you are eating buffet style add veggies to your plate first, then protein, then the sides (the side dishes are typically the most calorie rich and nutrient poor, but most delicious). Chances are that small serving of stuffing will be enough to satisfy you once you have filled up with satiating protein and veggies. And the worst offender on the plate? That store bought, sugar laden cranberry sauce. Add just a tiny amount, or skip it all together.
Add some acid: acidic tasting foods can help slow down the impact of carbs on your blood sugar, so adding some greens with an acidic dressing or even taking a shot of ACV before you eat can help (but don’t let this be an excuse to go carb crazy)!
Drink Well: definitely skip the hard spirits (these are so hard on your body to process), and choose low sugar options such as prosecco or red wine. Tim and I love Fit Vine Wine and their Holiday Red is our go to at this time of year.
If you followed the tips above you have hopefully woken up feeling light, energized and ready to enjoy the day! However, if you had a few too many treats, are feeling a little bloated, or just enjoy a healthy reset you can follow my science based, deprivation free Smart 2 Day Detox.