Every year I sit at the dinner table, my hands intertwined with those of my loved ones, and I take a moment to give thanks for the bounty before us, making a silent promise to eat only until I’m no longer hungry, that I’ll use reason, restraint this year.
I shouldn’t make promises I can’t keep!
But knowing its coming and making a plan is something I can actually do to help relieve part of the guilt!
Have Healthier Alternatives
Don't need to blow up your diet completely - and everyone else at your table will appreciate the thought!
Try steamed vegetables instead of sauce rich versions. Use yogurt to as a substitute for sour cream or heavy creams. Use a diabetic recipe for cranberry sauce instead of lots of sugar.
Use fresh apples, like Honey-crisp or Granny, for dessert.
GIVE THANKS FOR MORE THAN THE FOOD
If you don’t practice this tradition already, then start a new tradition of taking a few minutes before diving into the Durkee onion-topped green bean casserole to go around the table and allow everyone to share both what they were grateful for last year, and what they look forward to for the year ahead. Acknowledging good intentions in our lives shifts the focus off the food and onto our family and friends, reminding us of the true essence of the holiday: sharing what we have with those closest to us, and being grateful for those precious people in our lives that provide us food, shelter, warmth and love everyday, unconditionally.
Once the food is on your plate, consider practicing a little “portion control” (knowing that half the fun is helping yourself to “seconds”), and slow down by chewing each bite 30-40 times. Conscious chewing heightens flavors, improves digestion, and gives the body the time it needs to recognize that it’s full. Relish your Thanksgiving meal, enjoy the conversations around you and take pause to listen instead of eating.
PLAN AN ACTIVE POST-THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
My favorite part of Thanksgiving is football - watching the family play a bit of ball and watching football games. But this may not be enough activity.
Plan your Christmas decorating. Go cut down a tree. Decorate. Shop. Anything to burn calories - and not finish the leftovers
If Christmas ain’t your thing, then perhaps take a long weekend walk at your nearby park or nature reserve, a stroll on the beach, or an adventurous bike ride. Take your kids to a bouncy house (and bounce with them) or head to your local museum and soak in some culture.
Whatever you decide to do, make it active, social and fun. And although Thanksgiving leftovers will and should be consumed throughout the weekend, be sure that Sunday is devoted to getting your diet back on track. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner, with a Mavericks-worthy wave of holiday temptation to drown in.
If you are not already in the habit of giving back with volunteer hours to your community, now is a great time to start. Contact your local food bank, church or online volunteer matching service. Get your family and friends involved to go beyond your "Friendsgiving" and truly give back a bit of yourself.
In a nutshell: GIVING = GRATITUDE.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,
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