It’s Thanksgiving week, yay! This time of year can be very stressful as you prepare to host friends and family, plan out your Thanksgiving menu, and get ready for the holidays. Food is everywhere and likely on your mind. It can cause anxiety and stress seeing all the holiday treats and menus. With only a few days left before the big dinner, I wanted to share a few reminders and tips on how to navigate through this time of year so that it is an enjoyable, nourishing and memorable season.
Follow your Regular Meal Pattern Before and After Thanksgiving Dinner
You may find it challenging to follow your regular meal pattern during this time of year. You are busy preparing for the holidays, getting groceries, and setting up for Thanksgiving dinner. You may also find yourself skipping meals or not eating enough in an attempt to ‘save up calories’ for the big Thanksgiving dinner. Let’s be honest; skipping meals only increases our stress because we are not providing our body the fuel it needs. You may find yourself more ‘hangry’, moody, and short-tempered, which takes away the joy from the holiday season. Going on a ‘fast’ before Thanksgiving dinner will likely lead to extreme hunger, food binges, and feelings of guilt for overeating. Now that’s not a happy Thanksgiving! This applies to post Thanksgiving as well!
Remember that your body is deserving of nourishment no matter what day of the year. Despite the hectic or stressful time of year it is, try to follow a regular meal pattern. This means recognizing and honoring your hunger cues. Aim for 3 meals a day, or eating every 4-5 hours. If you know your meal will be delayed, carry a snack with you so that when your hunger strikes, you have something nourishing to eat rather than a treat from a nearby cafe. Some snacks I like to carry with me are nuts, a granola bar, and fruit.
Hydration during this time of year is also key. Carry a water bottle with you and sip on it as you run your errands. Dehydration can cause extreme headaches and fatigue so make sure to stay hydrated with water or unsweetened beverages.
- Your body is deserving of nourishment at all times, before, during and after Thanksgiving
- Listen and honor your hunger cues. Aim for 3 meals a day and include snacks when needed
- Carry a water bottle to stay hydrated
Your body is deserving of nourishment at all times, before, during and after Thanksgiving.
Mindfully Eat your Thanksgiving Dinner
Mindful eating is a practice of being open minded and in the present moment when you eat. The principles of mindful eating include being aware of the food choices in front of you, choosing foods that are nourishing and satisfying, eating using all your senses, acknowledging your responses to food without judgement, and being aware of your satiety cues to guide you on when to stop eating. This is a large topic but here are some tips.
At Thanksgiving dinner, take a moment and scan the foods available for you to eat. Aim to create a balanced plate; include plenty of vegetables, some protein, and a starch. For example, this can be ½ a plate of roasted veggies like carrots, turnips, squash, green beans; ¼ plate of turkey; ¼ plate of mashed potatoes; and a drizzle of cranberry sauce.
If you are going to a Thanksgiving dinner bring a vegetable dish with you. Here is some inspiration:
- Mediterranean Green Beans with Cilantro and Garlic
- Spinach and apple salad with pomegranate dressing
- Kale quinoa salad with toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette
- Roasted carrots and turnip
- Butternut squash and pumpkin soup
As you eat, chew your foods well, savor every bite, and use your senses to experience this meal. How does it taste? How does it make you feel? As you enjoy your meal, tune in to your satiety cues to guide you on when to stop eating. Don’t feel the pressure to eat or try all foods! Choose foods that are appealing to you at the present moment or that may not be available throughout the year.
- Aim for a mindfully balanced plate
- Slow down and savor every bite
- Tune in to your satiety cues
- Eat foods that are 10 out of 10 for you. There is no pressure to eat everything!
Give yourself Permission to Enjoy Thanksgiving
A huge part of Thanksgiving is the food, but it’s not all about the food. Focus on the purpose of Thanksgiving. Reflect on what you are grateful for, the family and friends in your life, the accomplishments you have, and the opportunities waiting for you. It may help to write a few lines in a journal the morning of Thanksgiving to remind you of the purpose of this holiday. Make a commitment to cherish, respect and nourish your body at all times. Give yourself permission to eat all foods that you enjoy no matter when in the year. This helps you create a peaceful relationship with all foods so that you don’t find yourself bingeing at an event like Thanksgiving dinner. In the end you may find yourself overeating (you are human after all!). Take note of how you feel. Remember that it’s only one day and that in the big scheme of things it won’t affect your overall health. Enjoy your evening and move on (and return to your regular eating pattern the next day).
- Thanksgiving is more than just about the food. Focus on gratitude and your connections
- Give yourself permission to enjoy all foods
- Remember that it’s only one day of the year
Make a commitment to cherish, respect and nourish your body at all times.
I truly hope these tips help you navigate through Thanksgiving and this holiday season. I know it can be hectic but let’s embrace it, take care of our body and focus on enjoying it so that we have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday! Do you have other tips you’d like to share? Let me know below or email me!
If you would like support and accountability during this holiday season or if you’re ready to create a lifestyle you love and a peaceful relationship with food you can schedule a FREE call with me to get started!