This week clients will come in and we’ll most likely discuss their Thanksgiving plans. Will they be hosting? Traveling? Are they in charge of bringing anything? I find a lot of nutrition advice for Thanksgiving focuses on the calories in various components of the meal. While it’s important to know that stuffing and sweet potatoes are caloric, I think most people already know this. In my opinion, it’s not so much the foods we eat for Thanksgiving but the way we eat them (plates piled high) and the number of days we eat them for. And so I offer my 5  Thanksgiving training tips:

1. Take Sides! Volunteer now to bring a veggie side dish. I was meeting with a client last night and asked what she brings to Thanksgiving and she said “I am the cupcake girl.” While I am sure her cupcakes are delicious they don’t help her weight loss goal. I told her she should be the Brussels sprouts or green bean girl instead. Cooking a veggie side dish is a great way to test new recipes and it also, selfishly, ensures a healthy component in the meal.

2. Whatever way you slice it, Thanksgiving is a heavy meal. Plan for this by exercising 30 minutes, minimum, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Most gyms are open Thanksgiving Day and spinning or running a great use of your day off. No gym? No need to worry, your 30 minutes can be walking outside or dancing while you get dressed. Try to recruit other family members and make it a new tradition.

3. I was watching Ina Garten, on the Food Network, fielding Thanksgiving-related questions on her show. One question was what to serve before sitting down to Thanksgiving Dinner. Ina said keep it simple before the meal and advised not serving guests too much. I couldn’t agree more (maybe for different reasons). If you are hosting, shrimp cocktail, crudite and a dip and olives are all nice, lighter choices. If you are a guest, minimize your nibbles, you can easily eat a typical dinner’s worth of calories in hors d’oeuvres.

4. There is a Japanese saying “hara hachi bunme” that translates to eat until you are 80 percent full. One of their traditions is not to be stuffed. In my opinion, Thanksgiving is a time to samplein foods you may not have at other times of the year. Compose your plate with small portions of treat foods but bear in mind a one plate rule. You would never ask for second helpings at a restaurant, practice “hara hachi bunme” and aim to be satisfied but not stuffed.

5. Thanksgiving is one day, Thursday, not Thursday until you go back to work on Monday. If you are a leftover person stick to Turkey, veggies even cranberry sauce. Keep pie and stuffing to holiday itself. I have one client who has pretty containers and makes care packages for guests to bring home.

Any healthy holiday habits you want to share?


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