How To Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

26 Nov 2014

Thanksgiving. It’s a time of celebrating, being with friends and family, enjoying each others company and well…eating a lot. Too much really. It seems like this holiday has turned from one of thanks and giving to one of stressing about how to survive this one day of being with people we either don’t want to be with (i.e. family) all the way to feeling guilty for having food.

This is a time that typically can break even the most strong willed people and for understandable reasons. Being around family makes us less accountable for our actions and we tend to eat more than one serving, we drink copious amounts of wine, cider, and beer, enjoy pumpkin pie and other desserts, and quite often tell ourselves we will have one last “pig out” meal/day and its okay because once Black Friday begins we will burn off all those calories.

Turkey Guns

I wanted to share some of my tips on how to survive Thanksgiving dinner and what to do if you do end up over indulging.

Do something active with the whole family.

While Thanksgiving is a time where we feel we should just sit inside and eat, it’s great to get outdoors (even in the dreariest of weather) and go for a walk. It doesn’t need to be long, just something that gets you moving, allows you to breathe in fresh air and will help rev up your metabolism. Don’t get stuck just sitting around all day. Play music, dance together, help set the table. Anything to get your body moving.

♥ Set a goal a food goal and stick to it.

With all the turkey, sweet potato, pies, alcohol and other deliciousness, it can be tough to say “No” to second helpings. However, if you are serious about not wanting to gain weight or feel guilty with your meal, then make it a goal of having small portions of everything you want and don’t get carried away. I personally always choose what looks best and allow myself ONE plate of food. Now it’s definitely going to be full, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat it all. Enjoy each bite, focus on the company and not the food and just remember why you made a goal in the first place.

♥ If you are doing a lunch or dinner, don’t starve yourself prior.

Don’t fall prey to the incorrect thinking that if you don’t eat breakfast or lunch, you can save those calories for the main meal. This typically backfires and you end up eating everything in sight. Focus on eating a healthy and nutritious meal or snack prior. This keeps your metabolism going and you wont be famished by the time you sit down to your meal and by having something healthy you are more likely to continue healthy eating at your next meal. Have nutrient dense foods such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, lentils, black beans, quinoa, berries, apples, pears, and proteins such as nuts, chia or flax seeds, tofu, chicken, or white fish.

A healthy meal idea prior to Christmas lunch/dinner

A healthy meal idea prior to Thanksgiving lunch/dinner

Be mindful of how you eat.

Most people will shovel food into their mouths without taking the time to really appreciate the taste, texture, and different flavors. We also tend to eat while standing, nibbling from different plates at a time, which can make us consume a lot of calories without realizing it. After each bite put your knife and fork down. This allows you to chew each bite and gives your body a chance to really sense if it is full or not. Be sure to eat food off a plate while sitting down at a table, as this will make you more aware of the actual food that you consume. And don’t forget that this day shouldn’t only be about the food, it’s a time to celebrate with loved ones.

♥ Stay hydrated.

Have a water bottle by your side the whole day or keep some pimped out water next to you at all times. See this video I did ages ago on how to drink more water throughout the day (simple trick of making it taste better and by marking the bottle with times). Anytime you think of having another nibble of food, take a sip or water prior.


If you do overeat, don’t let guilt ruin your day. One meal won’t ruin your diet or make you gain 10lbs, so just try to stick with your plan of what you’ll do the following day, follow the tips above and most of all enjoy the time with your friends, family, or whoever you get to celebrate with! If you aren’t able to spend time with those around you, volunteering to pass out food to homeless is an amazing way to make you feel great about the holiday and can make you realize how much you have to be thankful for.



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