What makes Thanksgiving such a unique holiday is that it’s solely devoted to food. There aren’t any gifts to be opened or costumes to be worn—you’re just gathered around the table reflecting on all you’re thankful for, as you eat a delicious meal. It’s easy to see why it is such a beloved day and, in fact, around 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving, according to the US Poultry and Egg Association. Clearly, a lot of people are feasting! And while there is nothing wrong with indulging, if you’re trying to still work toward your weight-loss goals, there are some things you can do to make sure you stay on course.
Frankly, you just want to avoid the worst eating habits that most people often end up doing on Thanksgiving. To help you out, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up these not-so-great eating habits. That way you’ll be fully prepared to enjoy Turkey Day without worrying that you’re sabotaging any of your progress. While you’re at it, be sure to try out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
We get it—you decide to skip breakfast and lunch, opting to wait to eat when the main meal of the day is served. You want to make room for all your favorite dishes, after all. But that plan can backfire. If you don’t eat a satisfying meal at all during the day, you’re going to end up over-indulging, serving yourself huge portions, and eating far more than you should in one sitting.
Holiday cocktails are oh so tempting and while having one drink is fine, you want to avoid drinking the entire day. It’s no secret that alcoholic drinks are often high in calories and sugar, but there’s a good chance you’re not sipping on enough water if you’re just going back to the spiked punch bowl or polishing off another bottle of wine. Drinking water before a meal actually helps prevent overeating and one study even found that overweight adults who drank water before meals actually lost three more pounds than those who didn’t. So sipping on some water can help you lose weight—can’t beat that!
The thing about Thanksgiving? There is food around all day long. So it makes sense that you keep filling your plate over and over again. But after enjoying one full plate of the main course, you’re going to want to stop there and resist the urge to serve yourself a second, third, or even fourth helping of turkey and stuffing. This way, you’ll avoid overeating, which is what you don’t want to do on a holiday!
Looking for more helpful tips? Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!
This goes hand-in-hand with avoiding eating all day. You want to make sure you don’t eat too fast, either. Eating slowly has been proven to help you feel full quicker and one study even found that people who eat faster are more likely to gain weight and be at risk for developing metabolic syndrome.
While there are plenty of yummy options to choose from—mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and stuffing, to name a few—you want to remember to load up your plate with vegetables, too. Green greens, sweet potatoes, and even a side salad are great ways to get your fiber fix in.
The holidays are always a stressful time, and especially this year when you’re most likely not seeing all of your family and friends together in person as you have before. It’s understandable that tensions are high. Don’t beat yourself up if a dish you cook doesn’t turn out quite like you hoped, or someone is late to the family Zoom dinner call. Stress actually can lead you to crave food, and it’s often comfort food that you want to load up on during times of stress. Try to keep calm, to prevent you from overindulging in multiple slices of pie.
The Thanksgiving “food coma” is all too real, and a big part of that is deciding to just lay on the couch after the big meal. Instead, you’ll want to get up and move. Whether that means you’re going on a walk outside or just having a dance party in your living room, just avoid laying down and turning on the TV. This way, you’ll not only get your blood flowing to keep your energy up, but you’ll even help with digestion.