How to Indulge Without Overindulging on Thanksgiving.

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I have been repeatedly asked if I skip Thanksgiving or only eat the healthier foods on the table. My go-to answer is that it’s a holiday and take the day to enjoy yourself. Enjoy a little of everything you like and stop when you’re full. Skipping foods you love and only get to have once a year leads to resentment. Life is too short.

That said it is possible to indulge without being overindulgent. If you have a weakness for your mom’s sausage stuffing.  take a helping of it. It doesn’t need to be a huge portion in order to feel satisfied. Are there healthy options on the table that you enjoy? Add them to your plate as well but don’t make yourself to eat something you hate because it’s good for you. I despise green beans in all forms and never add them to my plate.

Make smart choices. Appetizers can add up to a lot of calories quickly. Take a small plate with your favorites and savor it. The same goes for dessert, take sample sizes of a few pies or one slice of the cheesecake you love. If you’re not a fan of dessert don’t feel forced to have it because it’s Aunt Carol’s famous pecan pie recipe. If you do feel pressured, simply say you’re too full, maybe later.

Keep your drinking in moderation and have glass of water for each alcoholic beverage. Many cocktails are very high in calories and sugar so try to stick with wine, beer, or use club soda with a splash of fruit juice as a mixer.

I also recommend getting some exercise, especially if you will be sitting most of the day. Not because you need to burn a bunch of calories in order to “earn your food” but because you’ll feel more energized and happy from the workout. Run or walk in your local turkey trot, go for a bike ride, play football in the backyard, or do whatever activity you enjoy best.

Finally, when it comes to leftovers take the turkey and some veggies but pass on the heavier sides. The holiday is Thursday, not the entire weekend. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Top 3 Tips for Getting Back on Track After Thanksgiving

Assortment of High Fiber FoodsI hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the day of family, friends and foods. I’ve seen some posts of people complaining of how much they ate and the thoughts of leftovers. I try to think of the holidays as singular days. So the leftovers I have are turkey, vegetables and a little bit of stuffing. I purposely didn’t come home with dessert or heavy casseroles.

I find that it’s not what I do on the holiday, it’s what I do the days after that have the most impact on my eating plan. To counterbalance yesterday’s indulgences I decided to have a Savory Day today.  A Savory Day is a day when I don’t eat sweets at all.  It lets me balance out from the pecan pie, chocolate and wine from yesterday.  I’m eating oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast, smoked salmon with avocado & capers on whole grain bread for lunch and dinner is leftover turkey and vegetables.  If I need a snack it will be nuts or some carrots & hummus.

It’s also a Whole Foods Day, nothing I’m eating is processed.  It lets my body regroup from some eating that may not have been the healthiest choices.  These are good days to incorporate throughout the holiday season.  You’re not starving yourself nor are you constantly depriving yourself. It’s not fun being hungry and grumpy plus no one else wants to hang out with a grump.

Get some exercise in too.  It’s important to just move your body a bit every day. Find an exercise that makes you feel good, one that you won’t dread doing. I like getting a good sweat on, my brain is happy and I’m ready for any drama that may occur during the upcoming holiday.  There’s something about families in one location that brings out the crazy, but whatever.  I’m ready to deal.

Like these tips and want more? Monday, December 9, 8 pm, I will be having a free 30 minute teleclass, I will be giving insider tips and tricks for dealing with family, staying on track with food and money while keeping your sense of humor. Learn to identify your major stress triggers as well as what brings you pleasure. Bring pleasure and joy into your holiday season and let go of the guilt and shoulds. To sign up for the class please register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/edit?eid=9520033677.

Ten Easy Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with catLast week I talked about celebrating Thanksgiving with your family and enjoying the day. I did have some questions on what to do when you are trying to eat healthy and don’t want to get too far off-track.

Get some exercise in. Participate in a Turkey Trot, go for a walk, play touch football or put on your favorite songs and dance for a while. You’ll burn calories and give yourself an endorphin boost.

Have a healthy snack or starter, something simple that will take the edge of your hunger and keep you from devouring everything in sight. Some cut up vegetables and hummus or an apple and a piece of string cheese. Shrimp cocktail is festive and low calorie or a butternut squash soup that’s not made with cream.

If you are doing the cooking or the baking mind the tasting. Bites, licks and tastes all add up calorie wise. (and, yes, you need to taste the dish to make sure the seasoning is right. Dip the spoon in for a small taste).

Turkey is healthy, go easy on the gravy and skip the skin.

Pick your sides wisely, veggies are a great choice but skip the cheese sauce.

It is a holiday so if you want the mashed potatoes and the stuffing take about 1/2 cup size serving of each. (think 1/2 a baseball). You’ll still get your favorites without feeling stuffed.

Skip the bread, you can have that any time of year.

I like cranberries and they are full of antioxidants. Cranberry sauce is also full of sugar so again, go easy. You could also make your own and substitute 1/2 the sugar with stevia.

For dessert pick one and enjoy it. Can’t make up your mind? Take sample size portions (think index finger width) of two or three desserts and savor them. I leave the pie crust because I simply don’t like it. I save a bunch of calories that way too.

Bonus tip: Cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks add calories. Enjoy the wine with dinner but have a big glass of water to sip as well.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your day. The next day go back to your healthy routine.

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Diets, Thanksgiving and Family Connections

turkeyWith the upcoming holidays I’ve been having a lot of conversations about food. The different view points and passion around food are always fascinating to me. I had a doctor tell me that our clients are too focused food and not the actual holiday. My thought was food is a very strong glue that binds families together. There’s a memory of love and enjoyment in those holiday meals and we feel connected through the meals.

His thinking was to not focus on the food and you enjoy the day that much more. While I understand the viewpoint I’m not really sure that’s true. I love having Thanksgiving with my in-laws, I particularly love my father-in-law’s sausage stuffing, especially when he makes in the pan and it gets crispy on top. But I feel connected to my family when I make food the way my mother and grandmother did.

There’s a certain link that you get when you have the cranberry sauce or sweet potato dish that you ate while growing up. The feeling of happy times and being cared for that really cannot be discounted. I think it’s important to have that bond and ignoring the food can leave you feeling deprived, angry or depressed to some degree.

Does that mean you should go and have heaping plates of it? No, but I do think having it the one day and taking the time to enjoy it along with the people you’re eating with is powerful for us. You’re sharing tradition and love with those you care about.

Next week we can talk more about eating mindfully and steps to take if you are watching what you eat. There are definitely ways to enjoy the meal and traditions without feeling like you sabotaged your own eating plan.

What are your favorite family Thanksgiving traditions? I’d love to know what you look forward to and what you could really live without!

Tired of cookie cutter diets? Need help in creating an eating plan that works for you, one that doesn’t leave you deprived or hungry? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, for a complimentary 20 minute consultation. You will get at least one tip that you can start implementing immediately.