5 Healthy Tips To Follow This Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving. A wonderful time to relax and celebrate the people and things in our life that we are most thankful for. Leaves are on the ground, football is on TV, and the impending nap on the couch is calling our name. If you’re like me, the one thing you look forward to the most on Thanksgiving is the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, rolls, and of course the two to three pieces of pumpkin and/or pecan pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I go into every Thanksgiving meal with the best intentions of not over-eating, and walk away feeling bloated and way more full than I should simply because my hedonic hunger (or pleasure eating) got the best of me.

I would suspect most are like this. In fact, the average person gains about a pound (sometimes more) during a Thanksgiving meal. Let me encourage you that you are not alone and it doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a day that sends you or your nutrition goals flying off the rails into a deep ravene, crashing and burning.

This year can be different with these 5 tips:


Exercise lowers levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite in the short term, while raising levels of peptide YY, a hormone that suppresses appetite. Doing a walk, run, or high intensity workout an hour or two before sitting down for your Thanksgiving meal is a great idea. Exercising after you eat is also a great idea because you’ll have this in the back of your mind while you’re eating. If you overindulge, you’ll more than likely pay the price later.


Don’t skip breakfast if you’re having a lunch time Thanksgiving meal and don’t skip lunch if you’re having a dinner time Thanksgiving meal. This will make you more hungry, and the temptation to over indulge will be much higher than if you have already satiated your appetite earlier in the day.


Choose white meat instead of dark. Eat your greens. Choose a roll with a dab of butter instead of a heaping dose of dressing. Eat a smaller slice of pie. (because you still need to have some pie!) Being conscientious of what you’re putting into your body is half the battle. Don’t just grab it and put it onto your plate. You can do it! Make the smart choices.


On average, one piece of pie equals around 250-300 calories. If you’re anything like me, it’s not uncommon to have multiple pieces on Thanksgiving. This can add up quickly. Cut it out! Limit yourself to one dessert and don’t go back for more. This will pay off and it’s going to make you feel much better.


Don’t wait to drink H2o until it’s too late! Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. This can make your body feel the need to consume more calories than it should when in reality, hydration – not eating – is the answer. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water prior to eating in order to stay hydrated and curb hunger naturally without any extra calories.

Simple. Practical. Tough to apply when we see all the delicious food laid out in front of us. Remember, you are in charge of what you put into our body. You can do it and these 5 tips can help! Give them a try before, during, or after your big meal. Best wishes to you and yours during this Thanksgiving Holiday!