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Feel-Good Thanksgiving Dinner

I love Thanksgiving dinner! I love sharing with family, I love sharing what I’m thankful for and I love, love, LOVE the food! If you know me, this will not surprise you. I love food.

I also believe that we can thoroughly enjoy food and still be healthy. In fact, I believe that to be fully healthy you have to eat amazing, delicious food. That includes Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, I often hear clients telling me they need to give themselves a mini-break from their self-care during Thanksgiving. It’s almost like there’s an automatic assumption that eating healthy and holiday meals cannot go together.

Well, I want to change that. I want to give you a few pointers to be sure that you are treating yourself with utter love and care while still enjoying the Thanksgiving feast, no matter who cooks it.

Pointer #1: Eat according to your nutritional type
If you’ve worked with me, you probably know what your nutritional type is. If you haven’t worked with me you might have a rough sense of whether you feel most energized when you eat proteins or carbohydrates or maybe both together. A quick test to see which type you are is to assess which breakfast keeps you going longer: eggs alone? Oatmeal alone? Eggs and toast? Eggs = protein type. Oatmeal = carbohydrate type. Eggs + Toast = Mixed type.

How to apply this to Thanksgiving?

If you are a protein type, you will do best having a healthy serving of turkey and green beans or other green vegetables. Yams, mashed potatoes, bread, cranberry relish, etc. can all be little garnishes. Stuffing can be a toss up depending on what it’s made from. If it’s bread stuffing you’ll want to have only a little, but if it’s from chestnuts or other heavier stuffing, you will actually do great with that.

If you are a carbohydrate type, you will do best enjoying all of the veggies, potatoes, relishes while having only a very little portion of turkey. If you eat too much turkey, it will make you sleepy.

If you are a mixed type, you got it! You will do best by combining equal portions of the proteins and the veggies, etc. You also want to eat them together. See pointer #2.

Pointer #2: Eat the foods of your nutritional type first
Whatever your nutritional type is, your body will assimilate best. Therefore you want to begin your meal by eating a few bites of the food that corresponds with your nutritional type. That way, your brain will quickly get the signaling that you are eating the foods your body loves.

If you are a protein type: start with the turkey.

If you are a carbohydrate type: start with the green beans or yams or the relish.

If you are a mixed type: mix bites of both groups.

By starting your meal this way you will also become more satisfied sooner and will be less likely to overeat.

Pointer #3: Serve up the greens
Contribute to the meal by bringing green leafy vegetables. They will accompany any Thanksgiving dinner very nicely and will create a light balance. They also have the following pluses:

  • Fantastic for all nutritional types
  • SUPER high in nutrients to help your body recognize that it’s getting a lot of good stuff and not ask for more of the empty stuff
  • Will give you fiber to move everything along!

Pointer #4: Serve yourself the amount of food that fits in your stomach
You probably have heard that your heart is about the size of your fist, right? Well, your stomach is about the size of both your fists put together. That’s not so big, is it?

I know what you’re about to say, something like, “wait a minute, I can eat a lot more food than that!” And you are right; you certainly can. But so can the hotdog-eating competition champs, and that doesn’t mean that eating 60 hotdogs is the amount of food they should eat.

Try serving yourself the amount of food that, when well chewed, would fit in your two fists and then work with pointers #5 through #7.

Pointer #5: CHEW your food!
Once you’ve served yourself the delicious dishes that you and your family have made, make sure to enjoy them thoroughly by chewing them well. Oftentimes we go for second servings because we ate so fast we can barely remember what the dish tasted like!

Take your time; really savor the food that had so much love put into it!

Pointer #6: Enjoy the thought of eating leftovers the next few days
As you ponder going for seconds just think about packing a doggie bag or setting aside your leftovers instead. Knowing that you will be enjoying this delicious food again can often be the trick to get you past eating more than you need at the moment.

This also works like a charm at restaurants!

Pointer #7: Enjoy the company and conversation
This is truly what makes Thanksgiving so special. It’s about the people you share it with.

I will be enjoying this Thanksgiving holiday with 19 family and friends, and that’s what I’m most excited about. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share it with them.

Who will you be with? Think of the blessing of having these people in your life and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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