Thanksgiving is just days away, and while most of us are looking forward to spending quality time with good friends and family, some people can be left feeling apprehensive about the holiday and its disastrous effects on an otherwise healthy diet. If you’ve been working hard all year to follow a healthy diet to increase your energy, clear up your skin, or shed a few pounds, rest easy knowing that this Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t need to derail your efforts. With just a few simple swaps to the traditional Thanksgiving plate, you can enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season. There’s no reason to skip out on your favorite holiday treats. You can still enjoy all your favorite dishes with a few modifications, no guilt required. Below, we’re sharing our top tips for keeping your Thanksgiving plate lean and your mind at ease.
Your Checklist for a Healthy Thanksgiving
A healthy holiday starts with a solid plan leading up to the big day, and Thanksgiving is no exception. This year, we recommend prepping your body with a few simple tips pre-Thanksgiving, so that you can kick off the holiday season feeling great, not guilty about cheating on your diet. Below, we’ve outlined our top pre-holiday tips.
Load Up on H2O
Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger. In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure to consume at least eight to ten glasses of water each day. Not only will this curb hunger and that need to snack between meals, but it will also help to flush your system of toxins and keep things running smoothly. Your skin will be glowing and you may actually shed a few pounds of water weight if you’ve been dehydrated. Not a fan of chugging water? Add a flavor punch with a fruit infusion. We love mixing all kinds of fruits and herbs into a large vat of water, and draining the fruit before serving. Some favorites include mint and raspberry, ginger and lemon, and mango and lime, but it’s hard to go wrong here, so feel free to create your own mixes!
Order a Cold Pressed Juice Delivery
There’s no better way to quickly clear out toxins, shed water weight, boost your metabolism and reset your whole system than a cold pressed juice cleanse. Order a juice delivery from Pure Green this week and enjoy a mini cleanse before the holiday, or simply drink a veggie-heavy green juice each morning before the big day. This will help kick your metabolism into high gear and jump start your health and weight loss efforts. We always recommend one green juice per day to maintain results post-cleanse as well as to prep the body pre-cleanse. Some of our favorite pre-holiday options include Pure Greens apple, lemon, ginger and Soul Kick.
If you’re not already following an exercise program, we definitely recommend starting one this week, before the holidays kick into high gear. Yes, it can be tricky finding time to workout amidst the holiday chaos, but you don’t need an expensive trainer or fancy gym to break a sweat. Go for a run around your neighborhood, do a quick 20-minute circuit workout with pushups, situps and jumping jacks in your living room, or swim some laps in the pool. Even just 20 minutes of exercise three to four times a week is enough to feel a difference in your energy and confidence. You may even find that, with your growing confidence, your cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen and you’ll want to keep the momentum going, even during the holidays.
Meal Plan for the Week
Just thinking about all the food you’re going to eat on Thanksgiving may be enough to turn you off of eating in the days before, but don’t fall into this trap. Skipping meals almost always leads to a binge later, not to mention the lack of calories can really slow your metabolism. This week, it’s important to plan ahead for meals, prepping plenty of grab-and-go sources of lean proteins, healthy fats, and tons of fruits and veggies. Try grilling up some chicken breast for the week and prepping fresh veggies to mix into a quick salad for lunch. Apples with hummus or peanut butter are a great healthy snack option that packs protein and satiates hunger. Whatever you do, do not skip meals or deprive yourself. Fuel up on plenty of healthy, nutrient-dense foods to prevent an unhealthy binge on Thanksgiving day.
Make Time for Yourself
Self care is so important, especially during the holidays. While it’s tempting to keep busy and cross things off your to-do list, it’s imperative that you take time to relax and focus on you. It’s no secret that stress can make us choose unhealthy options, causing us to skip meals and binge later, or indulge in alcohol and sweets. Keep stress levels to a minimum this week by taking ten minutes out of your morning to meditate, scheduling time for exercise, staying mindful during mealtimes, and taking a night off from holiday prep when you can. Remember, you can’t take care of others unless you first take care of yourself.
Your Perfect Healthy Thanksgiving Plate
Now that you’re armed with a solid plan of action leading up to Thanksgiving, complete with a cold pressed juice delivery and plenty of diet and exercise tips, let’s talk about how to navigate your plate on the big day. These tips are practical and don’t require you to sacrifice your favorite foods. As with all health tips, moderation is key. Below, here’s how we create a healthy Thanksgiving plate that won’t tip the scale.
Skip the Apps
We all know that the turkey is the main event, so skip the appetizers unless one of your absolute favorites is being served. It’s easy to park yourself next to the cheese plate and snack away, but remember that the more pre-dinner munching you do, the less you’ll be able to enjoy the main event.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Some people like to fast the whole morning before their big Thanksgiving meal, but we definitely don’t recommend this. Skipping breakfast will cause your blood sugar to drop before dinnertime, so by the time you sit down to eat, you’ll be ravenous and definitely not in the right frame of mind to make sound choices. Skipping breakfast also isn’t great for your metabolism, so while you may think you’re doing the right thing by saving some room for the big meal, you’re really doing more harm than good.
Make Turkey the Main Event
We all love the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and gravy, but as a rule of thumb, we like to make sure our plates are filled with about forty percent lean turkey. The lean protein found in white meat turkey will help fill you up without expending too many calories, so it’s always our go-to when filling our plates.
Eat Your Greens
After you’ve taken a healthy serving of turkey, focus on greens next. Your Thanksgiving table is likely filled with plenty of green, healthy options, but sometimes they can be pushed out of the spotlight when there are loads of other, less-than-healthy options. Keep your eye on the greens, choosing healthy sides like spinach salad, green beans and broccoli.
Skip the Desserts in Disguise
We would never tell you not to enjoy a delicious slice of your mom’s famous pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but to make room for this indulgence, it may be best to skip the desserts disguised as sides. By this we mean cranberry sauce, which is loaded with sugar, and the always crowd-pleasing sweet potato pie. Yes, sweet potatoes are full of healthy beta-carotene, but when they’re mixed with butter, sugar and topped with marshmallows, they’re not quite as healthy as they could be. Trust us, you won’t be missing those sugary sides when you’re guiltlessly indulging in your favorite slice of pie.
A Healthy Thanksgiving is Within Reach
As you can see, none of the tips we’ve given are drastic. We never recommend crash diets or extremes, especially around the holidays. Instead, making simple pre-holiday lifestyle changes and staying mindful during the big day can lead to a healthy Thanksgiving that you can feel good about. After all, Thanksgiving should be about spending time with the people you love, not feeling bad about ourselves for the unhealthy choices we’ve made. This year, we hope you enjoy your healthiest holiday yet. Don’t forget to place your juice delivery orders with Pure Green this week to keep your energy high and your spirits soaring. Happy holidays!