How to eat for Thanksgiving

If you’re reading this, you might have expected the first line to say something along the lines that you shouldn’t be tracking your Thanksgiving at all. 

And that’s kind of true. 

Thanksgiving is one of those times that I personally won’t track, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t depending on your goals so it’s important you’re equipped with the knowledge to have a plan around Thanksgiving that will meet your goals. 

First off, there’s nothing wrong with tracking your Thanksgiving, Christmas or literally any other holiday, if that’s going to be something that will help you in being happy. If deep down you actually want to enjoy a plate full of delicious food, a few drinks and not worry, then we should be working to create that for you to meet your goals of balance in life. 

But, if you actually are happy staying on track and like the discipline, let’s talk about a few ways to do that. 

  1. The intermittent fasting approach

This is one approach we use with clients who tend to find that they overeat on dinner when it comes to that time. 

IF has been demonstrated to be a good way for many people to lower the amount of total calories you eat on any given day, which may help you if going over to your Thanksgiving dinner usually results in you eating 10,000 calories. 

How you do it would be simply fasting, also known as not eating, for the first 14-16 hours of the day. This means that if you stopped eating at 10 pm the night before, don’t eat your first meal until 12 pm the following day. From there, eat to being full at dinner and enjoy the meal. 

2. Front loading your protein

This is a good approach for those that simply have to eat something earlier on in the day. 

There’s a couple reasons why this approach might be for you. First, when you’re going out for Thanksgiving or really any other meal, the most delicious things on your plate generally aren’t protein dense.

Sure, at Thanksgiving you may have some turkey, but most people’s plates aren’t half turkey and then greens. If you’re like me, it’s a third turkey and then filled with stuffing, potatoes and all the other goods. 

By eating more protein earlier in the day you’ll not only get ahead of your protein intake for the day but you’ll also be able to fight off more hunger pains earlier on before the big dinner as protein generally is a more satiating than both carbohydrates and fats. 

A good example of this could be an egg white omelette in the morning for breakfast with veggies, greek yogurt for lunch and a protein shake before heading for dinner.

Then when it comes to dinner, eat your heart’s full!

3. Lastly, and this is the approach I’d recommend, enjoy it. 

Again, if you want to track it completely and macro it all out with your food scale, knock yourself out, that’s totally fine!

But, if you do want to enjoy the meal, I’d challenge you to journal any reservations you might have about indulging. Do you think it will wreck your progress? Do you think you’ll have to start your “diet” over again on Tuesday? 

It’s okay to think those things, since that’s the way our culture has led us to believe, but that doesn’t make them true. 

One day of overeating, if you even do, will not make you gain weight. It’s the bulk of the other days that will. 

So, if you decide to indulge, go for it. But do so with the thinking that this is PART of your “diet” rather than the exception and when the time comes that the weekend is over, get back to your normal routine of eating. 

You just might actually enjoy it!