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The holidays are a time when we really get to practice our moderation techniques. Another way to think about it is your food budgeting skills. We can have some treats, but too many will blow our calorie savings account. It starts with being mindful and having a plan to focus on balance and health. Right now I’m thinking about Thanksgiving, but really this can apply to all the holiday weekends and shenanigans that may already be blowing up your calendar through January.

  • Keep moving. Do a Turkey Trot or a family walk on Thanksgiving Day to help keep the blood flowing and plan to keep moving throughout the weekend. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or high intensity. Focus on your 10K steps and just move.
  • Eat what you love. If your aunt makes an amazing homemade pecan pie or your grandmother makes your favorite sweet potatoes, by all means enjoy them. Appreciate the love they are sharing with you through the act of cooking and savor each bite. Don’t try to replicate it with low-cal or fat-free fakes. Eat the real deal in a reasonable portion and focus on stopping when your body says it’s full.
  • Keep eating your greens. So many Thanksgiving spreads end up completely devoid of greens not covered in gravy or fried things. Bring a spinach salad, roast some brussel sprouts or try making green beans not in a casserole. Not everything has to be decadent and your body will thank you for some fiber that day.
  • Skip the fake foods. Store bought baked goods are typically loaded with extra preservatives. Cool whip is chemicals. Cranberry sauce from the can is mostly high-fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. You get the idea. Read your labels. Make your food and enjoy the food others make. Not only will this help you feel better on Black Friday, but a side benefit is that it will significantly cut back on the calories of your whole day.
  • Respect your food sensitivities. If dairy, gluten or corn make you feel bad on any given Tuesday, don’t let them make you feel bad on Thankgiving when you’re actually off work and enjoying time with loved ones. Food inflammation can go on for weeks after exposure, so try not to eat anything that you know your body will make you pay the price. If there’s something you are dying to have, ask me to help and we’ll try to find you an alternative recipe made with whole ingredients that you’ll be able to enjoy. This is when it can be worth making an alternative option for yourself.
  • Pack it up! When dinner is done, put all the food up and away. Don’t leave it on the countertops to tempt you and your guests to nibble – especially desserts. Pack up to go boxes for all of your guests and get back to normal on Friday. The only thing that gets to stay is any leftover turkey you might have. Extra turkey = lean protein for the win!

And I get it. Sometimes you’re not at home. You’re flying and in someone else’s house. Things aren’t quite as clear cut as you’re relying on others. That doesn’t mean that you throw everything out though. Instead focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. Listen to the cues you’re body is sending you and practice eating slowly and mindfully. Health is never an all or nothing thing. Doing what we can daily is still doing something.

Still thinking about what to make? Here are some recipes from some of my favorite chefs to help you on your way.

(Note these links will not work from your phone. They should work from your PC.)

Thanksgiving Round-Up

The centerpiece:

Delectable sides:

Favorite desserts:

Quick things to help:

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