Thanksgiving - it doesn't have to be a disaster. Traditional Thanksgiving foods can actually come together to form a decently healthy meal. 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 what and how much you are eating. The day is about enjoying time with friends and family, not stressing about food or being uncomfortably full. Here's how you can do just that:
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 dinner so that you can still have an appetite for the feast, but not be distracted by your hangryness all day.
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 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.
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, the body has more time to send signals that it is full before you get too full beyond comfort levels. 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.