The holiday season is here and Thanksgiving kicks it off! We hope you’re all looking forward to gathering together with good company and great food. While we bask in the gratitude of Thanksgiving Day, we also know that the holiday season can bring about its own brand of food-focused stress - but we’ve got solutions for you that will work all season long!
We all want to enjoy the Fall food and flavors we love, while still maintaining balance so we can continue to feel our best, especially if we’re on the healing path. As usual, planning ahead is the best way to succeed. So, let’s get cozy with some supportive strategies that can help you stay on track, without feeling deprived or restricted.
Keep these strategies handy throughout the holiday season to help guide you through the dinners, cocktail hours and holiday parties to come.
Strategy 1: Give Vegetables Center Stage & Keep it Colorful
Fill half your plate with vegetables. Veggies are filled with fiber which will not only fill you up but provide gut promoting benefits along the way and will keep things moving! Joining someone else’s table this Thanksgiving? Offer to bring your favorite vegetable side. Jazz up salads with bright and colorful vegetables, like winter squash, pomegranates, radicchio, and beets. The more color around the table, the better. And if you’re hungry for seconds, try going for another round of veggies.
Strategy 2: Spice Up Your Life
Ginger, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg & cinnamon. Rosemary, thyme, chive, sage, parsley and bay leaves. When it comes to herbs & spices, the limit does not exist. Not only will they enhance the flavor and aroma of your Thanksgiving creations but they are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants meaning they have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. You’ll be enjoying your favorite foods while fighting inflammation at the same time.
Strategy 3: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
If there’s one thing to focus on on Thanksgiving Day, it’s to keep your blood sugar steady by eating regular meals. “Saving your calories'' to splurge on one meal is a plan that almost always backfires. If you’ve been fasting all day and come to a celebratory meal starving, it’s very difficult to make healthy choices. That can lead to overindulging, leaving you uncomfortably full and bloated. Plan to eat breakfast and lunch (depending on when your feast begins) emphasizing protein, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to keep your blood sugar steady. Even if you plan to have a rather indulgent dinner (as most of us are), best not to skip out on a meal early in the day. For specific meal ideas check out “Step 5” of our Holiday Healing blog.
Strategy 4: Choose Your Favorites
Make space - on your plate, in your stomach and most importantly, in your mind - for the foods you love. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods even if it slightly strays from your typical diet. Create a balanced plate that includes plenty of vegetables, turkey, and make room for the foods you really enjoy, particularly if they only come around on Thanksgiving. It may help to make a plan for yourself. If mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, stuffing, sweet potato pie or fill-in-the-blank is your absolute favorite then save a spot for them on your plate. For maximum enjoyment and satisfaction, slow down, savor it, and really revel in the flavors and textures.
Strategy 5: Relax and Reflect
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate all we have to be grateful for and to enjoy time spent with family and friends - especially this year. Do your best to relax, be in the present moment, and allow the food to bring you and your loved ones together. Help support digestion by chewing well, eating slowly and savoring the delicious flavors of the meal in front of you. Before you dive in, close your eyes and take a deep breath to help optimize digestion, and boosts satisfaction. The most satisfying meal is the one you actually slow down to savor.
Pro tip: If you’ve found yourself a little extra full post dinner, pop a couple of Benezyme digestive enzymes to help you along! Digestive enzymes are my favorite all time, won’t-leave-home-without-it supplement.
Bonus: The Day After
Get back to the basics today! Move your body, hydrate extra well, and be sure to eat regular meals, including (say it with me) extra vegetables! And check out these day-after tips to get you back on track!
Remember at the end of the day, one meal will not make or break your goals - it’s the actions you take daily and deliberately that count the most.