This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving – and BOY! Do we love food!
Although Thanksgiving does entail family and good conversation, it also entails tons of delicious, empty calories, which could seriously throw you off of your wagon if you aren’t prepared for it.
If you are feeling a bit nervous for all of the delish temptations you will be presented with, have no fear – you are far from alone. It’s not bad to enjoy the holidays and food! What is life if you have to view these precious things are negative things?! We have some helpful tips to share with you, to ensure that you stay on your A-Game during this time!
1) Choose your battles
Evidently, you have the serious potential to be eating more calories than you probably know or want to this weekend. So, in this instance, pick and choose your battles wisely.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to “try” everything and fill your plate up with every single portion of food on the table, and you don’t need to drink every beer that is handed to you.
Be strategic and smart when you are at holiday dinners – pick yams over regular potatoes, enjoy the foods you enjoy most, don’t fill up on every single other thing you could care less for… or maybe opt-out of saturating your entire plate in gravy. Tough, I know. :0
If you choose to have something less healthy (a beer, or a big piece of sugary pie), then be prepared to cut something else out of your dinner – you should still maintain a certain macro balance, and should aim to adjust your intake on other foods if you want to indulge a bit.
TIP: Fatty + Sugary foods (pastries, pies) along with alcohol are going to have the biggest negative affect on your physique, they store worse than more complex carbs or fats by themselves and have severe negative effect on insulin + fat storage.
2) Bring a ‘safe’ dish
Bringing a Thanksgiving dish that YOU know has been made with keeping a healthy diet in mind, is a great way to maintain a good balance in your holiday dinner.
Try making a wholesome, nutrient-rich salad, or healthy dessert. Even if you are the only one to eat the dish you brought, you will feel a lot better knowing EXACTLY what went into that recipe.
3) Be smart with your alcohol
Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol. It is fine to have a glass of wine before or after dinner, but don’t over-indulge and have three bottles of wine over the course of the evening.
Empty calories from alcohol inhibit the body’s ability to oxidize other sources of energy – essentially meaning that the body will oxidize the calories from your beer FIRST, before dealing with anything from proteins, carbs or fats.
So, if you have 5 glasses of red wine with dinner (with each glass containing around 70 calories), that means your body has to oxidize 350 calories before it can even think to burn any calories from any other sources. When you look at it this way, it’s easy to understand why weight-gain can occur when a person drinks heavily.
If you really feel the need to have a few drinks, and get your buzz going, try making yourself some low-calorie drinks. Try mixing mineral water (San Pellegrino or Perrier), vodka, mint and fresh lime juice. – you will still be drinking that feel-good juice, but will be ingesting literally half the number of calories in the process.
4) Protein first!
Rather than going straight for the potatoes and stuffing, make an effort to eat all of the turkey and ham on your plate first.
Protein is a form of energy that keeps you feeling full and satisfied for a long time, mainly because it takes longer to break down in the stomach. Being full on protein means you’ll be less inclined to devour empty calories during and post Thanksgiving dinner.
Aside from feeling full, protein also helps to maintain blood sugar levels. The likelihood of you experiencing crazy sugar cravings will be decreased and you won’t feel the need to devour an entire pumpkin pie.
When in doubt, get full on protein.
5) Stay away from unneeded sugars
Probably the biggest tip we can give to you during tempting dinners is to have some self-restraint, and to stay away from unneeded, processed sugars.
If you truly need to indulge your sweet tooth, however, opt for healthier options like fruit, or sugar-free, dark chocolate. At least in this instance you will be getting the sugar you crave while also benefiting from other nutrients in your dessert.