How to Build a Better Thanksgiving Plate

Kim T Blog

Thanksgiving - it doesn't have to be a nutritional disaster. Traditional Thanksgiving foods can actually come together to form a decently healthy meal. It's the heavier side dishes and desserts that are more indulgent. All in all, it is a holiday, and this meal only comes once a year, so you should be able to enjoy the meal and not worry about how it will affect your waistline (one meal will NOT), but knowing which foods you should be loading most of your plate with, and which you should enjoy a few bites of, will make the meal healthier.

Do not fast all day

One of the worst things you can do is fast all day in anticipation for the big feast. You will be so starving by the time you sit down that you will most definitely over eat...and then keep eating until you are uncomfortable. Eat light meals throughout the day before, with protein and fiber to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your hunger at bay. "Spoil your appetite" just a bit.

Eat your favorite food first!

You can load up your plate with the protein and vegetables if it makes you feel better, but if you eat your favorite food first, you're likely to be much more satisfied sooner, before you over stuff yourself and feel uncomfortable.

Don't forget your veggies!

It's all about balance, right? So get some of the good stuff in there. If you're in charge of some cooking, contribute a side of roasted vegetables and fill your plate with them. They will help fill you up and add some good nutrition into the meal that your body will be thankful for.

Sample all the side dishes you want

You might feel tempted to take a heaping serving of everything at first, then eating it all just because it's on your plate despite feeling stuffed. Start by taking just a small scoop of each side dish that you would like, then know you can take more if you want more after you've finished the bit on your plate. Do not restrict yourself from what you want, it's a special occasion.

Drink lots of water

Every try to put on your shoes after Thanksgiving dinner and they feel a little too snug? It's the sodium. Be sure to drink a lot of water to flush out all the excess salt you'll be consuming.

Eat Slowly

We hear it all the time, and it doesn't sound THAT important, but it is backed by research that if we chew and eat slower, we consume significantly less food. You also ENJOY the meal more when you eat slower, and therefore you will feel more SATISFIED with smaller portions. P.S., it will also be much easier to eat slowly if you're not ravenous by the time you sit down, so all the more reason not to "save all your calories" for dinnertime.

Again, remember that if you are eating healthy consistently, this one meal will not derail your progress. Enjoy the holiday, turn the main focus away from the food and focus more on your family, friends, and gratitude.