Well, if you happen to Google "Nutrition Tips for Thanksgiving" you will get over 24 million results from nutrition experts (and many non-experts) telling you to "eat this, don't eat that", "avoid dessert, have fruit instead", and it goes on and on.
What's the reality? Well, my reality is that this is one day of the entire year that I get to enjoy Nana's pumpkin pie, Auntie Becki's deviled eggs, Papa's mashed potatoes, and Mom's turkey stuffing. Am I going to avoid all of those things in order to stay on my nutritional plan? NO! So I'm certainly not going to advise anyone else to avoid their favorite Thanksgiving food that they get to enjoy once a year.
What is the best nutrition advice for THANKSGIVING festivities? PORTION CONTROL!
Portion control is the key to all sound nutrition plans, and it also allows you to occasionally enjoy your favorite foods, including those Thanksgiving favorites that you look forward to once a year.
Here are a few suggestions to help with Portion Control:
- Please eat breakfast (or something healthy) before the big dinner. Many people think that if they starve themselves the entire day until the big dinner that they may be controlling their calories. The exact opposite happens! When you avoid eating until the big dinner, your brain does not have the energy to think rationally. Plus, your morning "starvation" gives you a false sense of accomplishment and a license to overeat - as soon as you see food, you may immediately take larger portions, overeat everything, and feel completely and uncomfortably stuffed after the meal. This in fact results in higher calorie intake for the day.
- Avoid "over-snacking" on the chips, dips, and fatty snacks that may be out and about during the early festivities and football games. These extra calories will add up. If it is the Thanksgiving meal that you want to enjoy, then snack lightly.
- Eat slowly and wait at least 20 minutes before you go back for "seconds". It takes our brain at least 15-20 minutes to realize that our stomach is full, so if you eat slowly and wait that amount of time, you may realize that you are already full, avoid getting "seconds", avoid overeating, and avoid excess calories.
- Use your plate as a Potion Control tool. Enjoy a smaller portion of each of the Thanksgiving foods. If you can't fit it on your plate, then you probably should take smaller portions of your favorites.