How Can I Eat Healthy Over Thanksgiving?

I feel like our healthy eating patterns can take a serious fall starting in October thanks to all the filled candy bowls leading up to Halloween.

It's always interesting to me that people only begin questioning how to stay healthy once Thanksgiving starts gearing up.  If you take a step back and look at it, the month of October will likely be spent eating incorrectly every day; Thanksgiving is a one to two day period filled with gluttonous punishment to our stomachs!

Nonetheless, we as Americans and celebrators of so much with food tend to look at Thanksgiving as our healthy living downfall.

So, how can you stay within your healthy eating options over Thanksgiving?  There's so much bread, stuffing, and sugar!  So many pies!  Your mom/wife's feelings will be hurt if you don't eat every last bite!

It can be especially difficult to eat properly when you're not in charge of what's being served.  You have to tread the waters carefully and make conscientious choices when it comes to filling your plate. 

Honestly, if you navigate properly, Thanksgiving can be a very healthy holiday, except for that whole overeating part. My advice begins with suggesting you offer to host Thanksgiving at your place.  In this seemingly simple way, you will be able to control the ingredients used and can keep all the bread items off the menu. 

All your guests will be so satisfied from eating the filling protein they likely won't even notice the missing dinner rolls!  The holidays aren't exactly the perfect time to become a Paleo Preacher.  Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe might be interested in hearing about how your life has changed since eating paleo, but they're likely just wanting to be baked-goods-zealots till the end of the year. 

You can rest your head Thanksgiving night knowing the meal you served planted a healthy seed for your guests to think about.  There are a few drawbacks to this. First, you have to cook, usually a lot! 

Second is leftovers, the only advice I have is to buy a bunch of cheap Tupperware so you can send everyone home with some of the leftovers. If you can't swing hosting the event, make sure you don't show up famished! 

Showing up hungry will only lead to overeating and indulging on food items that aren't as healthy as they are instantly satisfying.  If you are having Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the day make sure you wake up and have a big breakfast.  If your house is like mine on holiday mornings, I'm sure it's pretty hectic, but I promise you will be thankful you did later when you don't have the sugar devil sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear "just one bite won't kill you."  (Or when you wake up from a sugar coma an hour and a half later with peanut butter pie smeared across your face feeling dirty and wrong.)

Regardless the location of your Thanksgiving dinner, you need to be a bit strategic with the choices of food you put on your plate.  You need to make the protein the main part of your plate.  This is where going to a non-paleo house may be beneficial, the dark meat of the bird will most likely be available.  This is massive bang for your buck since the average American goes for the white meat first, so, you can load up with the dark meat and still throw a piece or two of the breast (and possibly ham if they are serving it) on your plate without looking like a huge glutton. 

This should be taking up a large part of your plate giving you less room to add unhealthy options. Now here's where you have to start walking through the landmines of Thanksgiving, the sides!  The best possible advice I can give is only to eat vegetables (potatoes and creamed corn aren't vegetables) that look like vegetables. 

That pretty much leaves green bean and sweet potato casserole.  You should be able to fill your plate with those items and make it out of Thanksgiving dinner relatively unscathed, that is if you don't have second or third plates. As far as dessert goes you may have to claim you had way too much dinner and are overfull!  You could also bring a dessert for dinner, a fruit of some type.  People may not like it as much as mom's pumpkin pie, and that will mean more fruit for you! 

If I fall apart on a diet this is usually where it happens.  Hopefully, this helps but if you find yourself eating all foods you can't normally, its okay, don't stress about it.  It just means that you have to get your diet back in line for the next week or two. 

If you find yourself overeating, there are a few supplements from Standard Process that I would recommend, Zypan which helps the stomach acid and Multizyme, which helps digestion.  You could also try eating some pineapple after dinner; it also helps with digestion. Thanks for the question have a great and safe holiday.

I hope you found this week’s Q & A helpful.  Please pass it along and, if you have any questions, please send them to [email protected]

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