I recently wrote an article published in Hello50! about Good Food and what the majority of people think of as good food.  Overwhelmingly comfort foods, those smothered in cheese, gravy, sauces, and tons of calories were at the top of the list.  Sure, they may taste good but are they good for you?

That was a rhetorical question, BTW.

What didn’t make the list?  Actual good food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds or lean meats. You know, the foods that were created in nature.

Personally, I’d add clean crafted wine to that list but apparently, wine is not a food group. Though from what I learned as a kid Jesus turned water into wine… I’m just saying.

Now that the holidays are here, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, everyone on social media is ranting and raving about their diet or diet program or way of eating. Give it a name.  The challenge I have with these conversations is that the way they guide you to eat is not intuitive.

Nor is starving yourself all day long so you can gorge yourself on Thanksgiving Dinner.

Did you know that according to the Calorie Control Council, one Thanksgiving meal can total 4,500 calories? That’s 2000 calories over what is recommended.

A 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the average American gains 1.3 pounds during the holiday season.  However, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, it’s not uncommon to see people gain 10-pound if they are not paying attention.  That’s a lot of “good food”.

I am a proponent of Eating Real Food and doing so intuitively. Intuitive eating means to leave behind the diet mentality of restricting and starving yourself.    It means to eat when you’re hungry and not when you’re not.  Eating because you are bored is not intuitive.

Good Carbs are not your enemy.  Your body needs energy and carbohydrates provide that energy. Without it, you will overeat despite how much willpower you think you have.  Once you reach the point when you are really hungry even your best intentions of conscious, intuitive eating fly out the window.  Especially when there is a table full of food.

When you eat real food most of the time, exercise, and doing the things you know are important for a healthy lifestyle then in my opinion it’s OK to give yourself permission to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.

That said there are ways to Lighten Up your Thanksgiving Meal.

Rest assured that it’s not as daunting a task as you may think.   Planning and prepping are essential. You would do that anyway!  Simply add a green salad with an olive oil and vinegar dressing using herbs and spices as well as a dish using a whole grain like quinoa you can completely change the focus of the meal to good food that’s good for you.

Here are 5 quick tips to help you enjoy your Turkey Day Dinner without getting stuffed!

Yes, I just said that!

  1. Don’t come hungry. Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch on Thanksgiving. Too often we try to “save ourselves” for the main meal and eat very little before the big feast or a party.  Starving yourself before an event always ends up backfiring because you’re so hungry you’re not able to control yourself and overeat.
  2. I’ll drink to That. Alcohol has calories too.  The more you drink, the less you care about the choices you make. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine with your meal.  It may be too late to order for your Turkey Day meal but in the future check out Clean Crafted Wines here.
  3. Pace yourself. It takes time for the brain to realize that your tummy is full.  About 20 minutes.  Eat slowly, chew, and savor each bite. I recommend eating in courses.  Enjoy a healthy salad as your first course.  Your main course and then dessert.  You don’t need more than that.  You can also wait to have dessert until after you have digested what you already ate.
  4. Beware of leftovers. The holiday table is likely full of the most calorically dense foods you will eat all year and there will be a lot of it, too.  Leftovers sound like a good idea but it really means that you are eating a high-calorie meal twice.  Once is enough.
  5. Lighter recipes. The best thing about cooking at home for the holidays is that you can treat yourself to the traditional foods you like and have control over how they’re made. You can search the internet for a healthier version of your favorite recipes or better yet get my lighter recipes here.  You can make them throughout the holiday season and all year long!

Make food choices this Thanksgiving that benefit your health, tastes good, and make you feel good, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Denise Stegall

Denise Stegall

Meet Denise E. Stegall, the CEO and Curator of Living Healthy List.com. With 25 years of experience and study in nutrition, cooking, exercise, and coaching, she helps female entrepreneurs and businesswomen curate a healthy, happy, and productive life.

As an inspirational thought leader, Denise provides honest, research-backed information on health, wellness, personal development, and fun for real-life application. Her platform, Living Healthy List, is a go-to community for health and wellness resources, empowering positive changes and creating the life you want.

Denise’s background in nutrition and her philosophy of “Eat Real Food, Make Good Decisions, and Be Accountable” shaped her International Best Seller, “Healthy Living, Happy Life: A Practical Path to Finding the Healthy Lifestyle That Works for You!”

She goes beyond her book and Living Healthy List to offer “Forever Wellness Lifestyle ,” a groundbreaking group coaching model with individualized roadmaps for true health, balance, stress management, confidence, and an uplifting lifestyle. Denise E. Stegall is devoted to empowering individuals to embrace holistic well-being and fulfillment.

“Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to be hard! “