It’s Wednesday, November 16, 2016. That means that thanksgiving is 8 days away. EIGHT days away?! If you’re anywhere in the midwest like I am, you walk outside into 65 degree weather and think that somehow we all went back 2 months in time, so no way Thanksgiving is next week!
But it is.
So let’s get on track. Cleaning up your diet and your relationship with food before the feast begins will make everything easier, and leave your pants a little less snug.
*PS. I say diet because diet by definition is the food that a person habitually eats, we all have a diet, everyday*
Here are a few tips to take with you as you approach the holidays, some obviously stated in a thousand other blogs before, some maybe not:
1) Portion Control
I know, isn’t it obvious? But let’s just take a minute to remind ourselves. Starting NOW at every meal you eat, take a look at your portion sizes- are they what they should be? How can you measure?
-Get a food scale and portion out in grams or ounces what 1 serving size for that food is (see nutrition label on food, or google it if there is not a label)
-Visualize portion sizes using familiar objects. Example:
*The palm of your hand= Recommended serving size of meat, about 3 ounces
*The front of a closed fist= Recommended serving size of cooked pasta, about 1/2 Cup
*Your thumb= roughly a tablespoon of almost everything, double this portion size for peanut butter
-Think choose my plate when serving your dish:
2) Use meal tracking apps or websites.
Start today! Download MyFitnessPal or any other app or meal tracking help you can find. If you start now, you will be familiar with the app and know how to use it. When the holiday comes you will find yourself being more conscious of what you are choosing to put on your plate because you will know that you have to track it- it will make you hold yourself accountable.
If you are wanting to figure things out a little more on your own- see 2 old blog posts (originally meant to be paired with exercise) that go into calculating everything you need to know:
3) Cook for yourself
Pretty simple here, if you cook for yourself you know exactly what is going into it. You can choose healthier ingredients, you can track it better, and just feel good.
4) Think ‘Natural’ or “Unprocessed’ when grocery shopping for your meal.
It’s obvious that buying boxed cakes, pre-made pie crust, pre-made sides, etc. from the grocery store is the easy way, but take some extra time this holiday to find the good ingredients, and this goes back to cooking for yourself. If you are picking out your ingredients to cook for yourself, take the extra step to go as healthy as possible- and that includes as healthy as possible for desserts. Look for fresh fruit to cook with instead of canned, fresh veggies to cook instead of canned or frozen, fresh meat from the deli, and if you must buy something pre-packaged, look for lower sodium or lower sugar options.
Thanksgiving dishes naturally are high in sodium, prevent that number from rising by buying low sodium, and especially, by cooking fresh. Canned and packaged foods have 1,000X more sodium than natural, fresh food. All the extra sodium, and even sugar, and fat on the holidays will not mix well, causing bloat, etc.
Here’s an example of the sodium difference in fresh green beans (left) & canned green beans (right)
5) Get on track with a buddy- think power in numbers!
Get a relative to buddy up with you, that way you have someone on your side at the feast. I know it can be extra hard to resist when other, non-health minded people push you to “splurge” or “give in” a little bit. Find a relative, or a friend, whoever! Keep each other on track, sit by each other at the table, encourage each other, and remind each other of portion control 😉
Don’t let Thanksgiving be the beginning of a spiral into fat pants. If you’re on track, stay on track with these tips. If you’re not on track, get on track now. It never makes sense to “Wait until after the holidays.” or to “Wait until January to start a resolution.” Start now! NOW. 🙂