The holiday season can bring chaos and joy, but for some of us it’s a difficult time of the year. Whether it’s your family making you laugh, freaking you out, or a combination of the two, we all tend to agree on one thing: FOOD IS EVERYWHERE.
This season can bring so many emotions to the surface without even considering food! We have enough to deal with, so why not leave guilt off the table??? I have some ideas on how you can say NO to guilt and yes to enjoying food…
#1 Incorporate Mindful Eating
Being present in the moment is one way to fully enjoy the food around you and feel safe that you aren’t over doing it. The best ways to do this is checking in with your body, determining how hungry you are before eating, and then seeing how your body responds as you take in food. My favorite tool to use to guide me in this process is the HUNGER SCALE. Rate your hunger before and throughout your meal to stay mindful and enjoy every bite!
#2 Adopt a Functionally Focused Mindset
We’ve all heard it before: “you have to workout THIS much to burn off THAT food”. Honestly, that really puts a bee in my bonnet. 🐝 Thanksgiving is about gratitude, not feeling like we have to pay for it all! My philosophy today and every other day of the year is simple: what is this food doing FOR my body.
Being a registered dietitian, I tend to appreciate the physiological components of my thanksgiving plate such as the micro and macronutrients it has to offer. Trust me, we have a TON of reasons to love this meal! Let me break it down for you:
- Turkey. This yummy protein has more protein per ounce than chicken or beef! And don’t be afraid of the dark meat because it actually has more iron, zinc, selenium, and thiamin (vitamin B1) than the white meat. This potent protein also has copious amount of thiamin. Thiamine is of particular interest to me because of it’s role in helping the body turn carbs into energy, which I know I’ll need on Thanksgiving Day with all the stuffing, potatoes, and rolls!
- Cranberry Sauce. Besides the fact that this is arguably the most delicious item on the plate, it is LOADED with anti-aging, immune boosting antioxidants. Cranberries have a SUPER-high potency of antioxidants that decrease inflammation in the body and can even prevent the growth of plaque promoting bacteria in your mouth. It’s like an anti-aging, anti-cavity food all in one!
- Stuffing. This is a great vegetarian protein source, especially if it is made with whole wheat bread. Not sure what to do with the left-overs? Wrap it in bacon and serve it with a kale salad. The kale reduces the inflammation from the high-fat load, and the fat from the bacon slows the digestion of the high-carb content in stuffing for sustained energy. Who knew stuffing could bed balance and deliciousness?
- Potatoes. Whether they are sweet, mashed, or covered in marshmallows or gravy, these guys in their most basic form are vegetables. I bet you didn’t know that potatoes are a high fiber vegetable with more potassium than a banana (especially if you eat the peel). Somehow there always seems to be leftover potatoes, but hey, I am good with it since left over potatoes with turkey makes for a great post workout snack! Considering you need a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein after most workouts, a plate with at least 1/2 cup of potatoes and 4-6oz of turkey is the prefect recovery snack!
- Green bean casserole. This one is good for you because there are green beans in it… duh.
- Wine. I’m still searching for validated evidence that this is actually good for me, but until then I will just go with it since it makes me happy. Happy people are healthy people, right?!?!
For those of you needing a little extra accountability on the days around the holidays be sure to sign up for my FREE holiday health challenge. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for weekly tips on how you can stay healthy AND fun while living nearly nutritious. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Cheers and body love,