4 Healthy Thanksgiving Tips to Eat What You Love Without Regret

healthy thanksgiving tips factor 75

It’s zero hour. We’re days away from Thanksgiving, weeks away from Christmas and New Years, and no time for the gym.

Don’t let your efforts to stay fit drown in a week of eggnog and stuffing.

Here are some healthy thanksgiving tips to help you eat the holiday foods you love, but in proper portion sizes to keep you on Santa’s “nice” list.

Rule #1 Practice Portion Control


Grains & Carbs


Portion size: Closed palm

Works for foods such as:
  • Pasta salads
  • Rice
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes

Load up on Fruits & Veggies


Portion size: Two fists

Works for foods such as:
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Squash
  • Fruit salads

Meats & Protein


Portion size: Open palm

Works for foods such as:
  • Roast turkey
  • Honey baked ham
  • Pork roast
  • Mixed nuts

Spreads & Sauces


Portion size: Tip of the thumb

Works for foods such as:
  • Chip dips
  • Bottled BBQ sauces
  • Jarred mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings
  • Sugary syrups and jams

More Healthy Thanksgiving Tips to Get Your Head in the Game

Controlling your portions is the easiest way to eat what you want without undoing your fitness progress. But it’s easier said than done, right? (case and point) Here are some things to keep in mind to help you reel in the temptation to binge.

#2 Mmmmmmasticate

Your brain is shouting, “BREAD PUDDING GET IN MAH BELLY!” So this is gonna be hard. But instead of woofing it down, chew and savor.

Studies show foods that require more chewing are psychologically more satiating. Take the time to really taste and savor each bite. Not only will you eat slower, you’ll give your taste buds the time to register all the flavor profiles more fully.

This results in fewer mouthfuls, but a richer flavor experience.

Marc_DavidChewing is more than a digestive aid. It also has a potent psychological function that helps keep body, mind and emotions in balance.

Marc David in The Psychobiology of Eating


#3 Remember Palate Fatigue

Get this: Your taste buds get tired. In fact, they’re big wimps. Your appetite may beg for a half pound of pecan pie, but that caramel taste will dull by the third or fourth bite. Choose a smaller slice and refer to rule #1.

dana-veldenWhen I remember to keep my attention on what I am eating, a kind of a calm settles over me. I feel a balance and a satisfaction that escapes me when I’m just shoveling it in.

Dana Velden on The Kitchn


#4 Don’t Obsess

Most importantly, don’t count calories. That will only ruin your holiday with food guilt.

Eat what you love (in controlled serving sizes). And don’t let calories distract you from enjoying your friends and family.

Because after all, diets don’t work. The key to a healthy holiday is savoring the moment.

Have any other tips and tricks for dialing down the holiday splurge? Share them in the comments below!

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Photos courtesy of Creative CommonsSling@FlickrSatya MurthyTim Sackton, Parker KnightSally Oh

One response to “4 Healthy Thanksgiving Tips to Eat What You Love Without Regret”

  1. Pamela Miles says:

    One thing I would add to this list… take a 10 – 15 minute break between dinner and dessert. If possible, take a walk or move around during the break. You’ll be surprised at what waiting just this little length of time can do to aid digestion. It can also lessen the chance of overeating because your body will have a chance to catch up with the amount of food you’ve already eaten.

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