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Tips on Having a Semi-Skinny Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, while also indulging in some bomb food. It’s easy to over indulge though, which can send you on a downward spiral until after the new year, once all the food focus festivities finally begin to calm down. As you’ll learn in this article, a little prep can lead to less regret.

Get Your Fitness On

Do something active in the morning to get that metabolism going! No time for the regular gym session (or don’t have concept of regular gym session)? Here are some other options: a quick 15 minute jog or brisk walk; power through 2 sets of 15 push ups, 15 squats, and 15 sits ups; the Scientific 7-Minute Workout, which is an effective, high-intensity interval training circuit full of squats, lunges and jumping jacks.

Added bonus of breaking a morning sweat: elevated endorphins and other mood boosters, which is likely to come in handy for your family gathering.

Eat Breakfast (Don’t Fast until the Feast) 


My crazy mind totally understands the temptation to skip breakfast on a day like this (saving the calories!) but in reality, starting the day with a filling breakfast is a better choice. Not only will it jumpstart your metabolism, it will also start your day on a healthy note and prevent you from becoming a hangry, ravenous jackass who devours everything in sight once the feast begins. 

For the best breakfast, skip the sugary shit and eat something full of protein and fiber. Easy suggestions, a bowl of oatmeal with almonds, toast with avocado, a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Need more ideas: here are 34 Quick and Easy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings.

Focus on Your Peeps

Yes, the food is awesome and everywhere! But you can’t shovel food into your face if you’re talking. 

Make it a point to focus on family and friends. Engage, ask questions and become a part of the conversation. Don’t keep your phone on you- that only makes it easier to get lost in your own virtual world vs focusing on your people while appreciating the food.

Slow Your Role with the Appetizers

Calories from appetizers can really add up! Even if you technically fill up on the apps, it’s unlikely that you’re going to eat less when the main food comes out. 

Don’t hang out by the appetizers. I repeat, do not hang out by the appetizers. Take a small plate and walk away. You’ll thank yourself later.

Bring a Healthy Dish to Share

Prep ahead and bring a dish you know you can eat. Load up on this healthy dish, then sample the other more indulgent dishes. Need some inspiration? Here are 34 Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving.

Mind Your Booze

Enjoy and have a few drinks, but remember: mind your booze.

Not only are you likely to overeat if you’re drunkified, that booze also adds extra calories. So choose bevs that are lower in calories, like wine and light beer. If you have no idea what is less calories, check out this Drink Calorie Calculator. Have a glass of water with each drink since you never want to be that person…especially at a family gathering. Also, know your triggers: if your family is likely to give you that “OMG – I need a drink” feeling, take a 10 minute break every hour to regain your calm, vs over drinking.

Indulge (In Moderation) 

Don’t just bitterly eat carrot sticks while everyone else passes the mashed potatoes and weird meats. This is a holiday full of awesome food – let yourself eat the things you are craving. Eat some mashed potatoes, enjoy that casserole, have that little slice of pie…

But instead of loading up your plate, take small portions (I suggest loading your plate with one scoop less than you already consider a ‘small’ serving) eat slowly allowing yourself to really savor the food. Don’t recreate a scene from Jaws – actually chew your food and appreciate the textures, flavors, and time put into creating the dish.

Also, don’t grab the biggest saucer like dish you can find and eat with a pitchfork. Use smaller plates and smaller utensils.

Have Post Meal Plans

Don’t just embrace the food coma. Instead of chalking the remainder of your day as a loss due to food baby, make plans! Doing so will prevent you from eating to the point you can no longer move. In addition to making yourself useful with post meal clean up, make plans to visit with friends, take the dog for a walk, just something to remind you not to become useless once the food is put away.

Take these tips but remember to enjoy and spend time with loved ones! Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you overeat a bit, realize it’s not the end of the world – just instead of becoming a “Black Friday” monster in the morning, pledge to take an extra long walk. 

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Ashley Lauren - The Curator of Kind

Ashley Lauren - The Curator of Kind

Host and Writer. Lover of Adventures, Music & Animals. Genuine Heart, Fitness Freak & Vegetarian. Made in Michigan, Improved in Chicago, Now in SF. Digs the Overlooked and thinks kindness is badass (and thinks you should, too).