Written by Koren Barwis
The Today Show recently featured healthy Thanksgiving recipes and I thought, who the heck wants that? Having worked in wellness for long enough, I know that most people don’t really want less creamy creamed spinach and “lite” pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. However, they also don’t want to feel bloated and still stuffed on Cyber Monday. What to do? Here are my tips for enjoying without going completely crazy:
- Eat Only What You Love
Everyone loves mashed potatoes…except me; I can take them or leave them, so why would I waste precious stomach space and calories on them? Same goes for store-bought rolls, pumpkin pie and Cool Whip. No thanks. If I’m going to eat something on Thanksgiving, it is going to be high quality, homemade, and worth it. My sister-in-law’s sweet potato casserole with candied pecans falls into this camp as do stuffing and pretty much any dessert with chocolate in it.
- Bookend Your Meal with Movement
Start and end your day with some form of exercise. Movement helps manage the stress of cooking/entertaining/family/you name it and also aids digestion, which who couldn’t use a little help in that department on Thanksgiving? Get up and do the 8am Mixed Level class with Kelly or Courtney or do a Turkey Trot in your community. Then add in a walk after dinner or a game of flag football. My family has a tradition of taking a stroll through Old Town Alexandria after dinner and that walk is more special to me than the meal itself.
- Contain the Splurge
Thanksgiving is one day. Do not let it bleed into a four-day food fest. Enjoy indulgences on Thursday, but get back on track on Friday and try to have a normal weekend. While everyone loves leftovers, they are not your friend if you’re watching your weight. So if you’re hosting, buy extra Gladware and dole out most of the leftovers to your guests. From our deliciously decadent meal, the only thing I try to keep in the house is the turkey breast.
- Be Mindful
Savor every bite and don’t mindlessly munch on filler foods like crackers or chips. Taste the different textures and unique flavors of the holiday like cranberry sauce and fresh rosemary. Eat slowly and breathe between bites.
- Focus on People
Savor more than just the food; remember the holidays are about celebrating our relationships and connections. Step away from the kitchen and catch up with Aunt Betty. Color with the little ones, play chess with your brother and try to remember all the people in your life you are thankful for.