Thanksgiving does not have to feel like a dumpster fire for your weight loss goals.
You could absolutely have a day of eating whatever you want and STILL reach those goals (because it’s all about consistency, remember?). But I still want to show you how you can navigate this day AND ditch the food guilt.
Have an intentional meal or snack at some other point during the day
Now, the rest of your day really depends on when you are having your Thanksgiving dinner. My family tends to eat around lunchtime, but your family might actually do it later in the afternoon/evening.
If you aren’t eating your holiday meal until later in the day, I would definitely have another meal or snack. You don’t want to go more than 4-5 hours without eating something (just like you would on a normal day). AKA don’t avoid eating just to “save up” calories for Thanksgiving dinner.
If your family tends to have snacks out while spending time together, make yourself a charcuterie plate! Prioritize fiber with veggies, high-fiber crackers, berries, etc. Get in your protein with some deli meats and healthy fats with cheese, hummus, olives, etc.
(Side note: if you’re hosting Thanksgiving you could totally put together a fall-inspired charcuterie board like this.)
If your holiday meal is more like your lunch for the day, you still need to have a dinner meal of some sort. Maybe it’s a nutrient-packed salad like this leftover Turkey Harvest Cobb Salad (yum!).
Again, don’t miss a meal just because you need to “make it up.” Your body needs proper nourishment just like any other day.
Don’t stress about your Thanksgiving plate!
Why do I say this? Because Thanksgiving dinner is actually pretty blood-sugar-friendly when you think about it. The stars of the show are turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, etc. This translates to:
Fat: butter/oil, gravy, cream
Fiber: green beans, potatoes
Starchy carbs: stuffing, potatoes, desserts
This can create a really balanced meal! Start with a serving of turkey at least the size of your palm, a scoop of mashed potatoes with gravy, and a serving of green bean casserole. Now, obviously this will all vary depending on what you have on the dinner table, but you can definitely have a satisfying plate that keeps your blood sugar fairly happy.
*My best piece of advice for this holiday meal is to prioritize your protein, fat, and fiber (again, like you normally would), and then enjoy your starchy carbs mindfully. Yes, this can include a slice of pie! And I would recommend having some whipped cream with it, not a side of guilt.
Remember, you’re not going into this meal having starved yourself all day (like you might have in years past), so you can much more easily tune into what serving sizes feel good physically because you’re not absolutely ravenous.
And if you’re concerned about working off that slice of pie later…DON’T! This is one out of 21 meals in a week and it doesn’t make or break any progress. It’s your consistency that does the talking in the long run. Enjoy the fun foods. Please.
Remember to move!
You don’t have to be a potato on Thanksgiving if you don’t want to! Participate in the local walk/run 5k the morning of. Go for a family walk after dinner. Get your steps in shopping for the early Black Friday deals.
While I wouldn’t stress about going to the gym on Thanksgiving, I would get in some movement to help balance your blood sugar and overall just feel good!
Holidays don’t have to be all that different from your day-to-day routine and sticking to some structure is actually one of the best ways to keep things in check. It doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, but you can still have some non-negotiables (like a high-protein breakfast) to prevent things from totally going haywire.