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How to Take Thanksgiving Dinner in Healthy Stride

Hayley Constance

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday because it's a day set aside specifically to celebrate family, friends, food, relaxation, and gratitude.

Unfortunately I also see it causing a lot of unnecessary stress when it comes to the "food" part. If you're on this health journey with us there's a good chance you've thought about how you're going to handle a day that is all about food, and most likely food you don't eat often.

The day doesn't have to throw you into a downward spiral for rest of the holiday season, so let's talk about how to take Thanksgiving in stride, just like any other day of the year.

    1. Fill your plate first with turkey and vegetables, leaving about a 15% for casseroles, stuffing, etc.

      Have most of your meal consist of filling protein and nutrient-dense vegetables that will nourish you and trigger actual satiety. Carb-loaded stuffings and casseroles (those this-is-delicious-but-who-actually-knows-whats-in-it kind) won't tell your body when it's actually full the way protein and vegetables will.

      Notice that I'm not telling you to skip these things. It's okay to eat things you normally wouldn't, just take the time to evaluate whether it's worth it to you or not. For example: your grandmother's famous pecan pie you get once or twice a year, worth it. The mediocre green bean casserole that you saw come out of Marie Calendar's box, probably not worth it.


      2. Drink more water before your meal, sip a little during, and none for about an hour after

      Hydrate, people. Help your body keep the food moving and counteract some of the sodium that generally comes with a large meal filled with gravy+canned soups+stuffings. Drink most throughout the day and leading up to your meal, then taper off during and try to refrain from drinking much at all after the meal. Drinking water can suppress digestive enzymes and keep you from properly breaking down your food.


      3. Stop stressing about what you are or are not eating

      Restriction before or after Thanksgiving, gorging yourself until you can't breathe, and/or being so stressed about what you're eating that you're not present is the least healthy part of Thanksgiving, regardless of what you choose to eat.

      Eat as you normally would leading up to the holiday, be present with your loved ones, enjoy and truly savor the food you choose to eat, eat until you're satisfied, and then move on.

      Thanksgiving is a day to recognize what you're thankful for and sit down to a good meal with people who matter. Don't make this more than it is. Stressing, about anything, will do more harm than anything you choose to enjoy. Eat, drink, and be merry, then it's business as usual on Friday.



      Have a happy, relaxed, and delicious Thanksgiving. We're grateful for all of you!

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