Tips for enjoying your Thanksgiving meal

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. The holiday has turned into something different this year due to the pandemic, so I hope everyone cares for their mental health. Because of 2020 ending up drunk, it’s more important than ever to address the Thanksgiving holiday and the food that comes with it. 

This year has been filled with many ups and downs, cancellation of plans, and just learning to adapt to a changing world. This isn’t a bad thing. The year has shown us we can make the best of a bad situation, and all change isn’t quite so bad. Let’s be thankful and blessed we have made it this far and survived the days’ trials and tribulations. When life gave us lemons, we tried our best to make the sweetest lemonade. Let’s celebrate that we are still standing among the bumps and bruises.  

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around food, and I don’t want anyone putting pressure on themselves to work out for those calories or even experience food guilt during this holiday. The holiday may look a bit different for you this year, but the day doesn’t need to include those feelings.


Here are my tips for enjoying your holiday meal:

  1.  Skip the food you have all year round, like mashed potatoes, and take the time to enjoy the sweet potato (or pumpkin) pie in moderation. Thanksgiving is one of two times a year there is honey baked ham and macaroni and cheese on the table, so those are the foods I’m going to enjoy and not the turkey. I eat some form of turkey every day.  
  2. Enjoy the lean meats like turkey without the skin, pork, and fish. Avoid the gravy and the sauces, or focus on portion control of those sauces. Yes, I just mentioned I want to eat ham, which isn’t lean meat. Remember, these are just tips and not the written word. Choose what you want to follow.
  3. Taste everything and eat nothing is a great philosophy to follow. Have a bit of the food you want to enjoy. Research shows you only enjoy the first 2-3 bites of food, anyway.
  4. Take the time to enjoy your meal. It’s Thanksgiving; there is no need to eat your meal fast. Sit down with water and savor every bite of the meal. It takes longer for your stomach to signal you’re full than your eyes, so take it slow. 
  5. It might be your turn to bring the fruit salad. You’re still getting your sugar fix with fruit, and that might be the thing that stops you from going for an extra piece of the pie. 
  6. Do eat before your big Thanksgiving meal. If your family doesn’t sit down to eat until dinner time, eat your regular meals throughout the day, so you’re not ravenous at the Thanksgiving meal. This will cause you to eat more food than you intended. 

All in all, these are just tips that you don’t need to follow. It’s just a bit of information that may help you make it through your holiday meal. BUT please remember, Thanksgiving is only one day. It’s not going to ruin your life or mess up your diet. The BEST tip I can give you is to drink water with your meal and leave the sugary or alcoholic drinks to post mealtime.  

Please don’t feel pressured to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving morning so that you won’t suffer food guilt for the Thanksgiving meal. If you want to move your body, or keep to your regular workouts for your peace of mind, do it. Do things that are normal to you because you want to and not out of guilt. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and remember to give thanks for ALL the good things in your life and enjoy the day.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?