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Eat Without Regret: 9 Thanksgiving Tips for a Guilt-Free Feast (Including Dessert!)

Three things are inevitable each Thanksgiving. People everywhere will warmly gather with friends and family around a table filled with delicious food and give thanks for the bounty that is life. People will pile their plates high with mashed potatoes, turkey and pumpkin pie. In fact, many will go back for seconds (or thirds), and when the horn of plenty has finally been exhausted, many people will regret ever having eaten so much food.

To enjoy Thanksgiving without the regret, here are nine tips:


Reset Your Mindset

Don’t arrive at Thanksgiving dinner thinking about how much you’re going to eat. Instead, think about how you want to feel AFTER the meal. Do you want to feel so stuffed that you’ll soon be napping on the couch, or do you want to try a little bit of everything but still walk away feeling great.


Don’t Start Your Day With a Heavy Breakfast

Start your day with something light like your favorite smoothie, which will give you energy and keep you feeling full for a longer time. Make sure you include lots of fiber (like flax seeds), fruits, leafy green veggies and protein like hemp seeds, protein powder or Greek yogurt.


Have a Light Lunch

Enjoy a small to medium salad, making sure to include colorful veggies and an oil-based dressing (nothing creamy). Avoid any type of carbohydrate at this point, including breads, pastas and sugars.


Snack Carefully

If it’s not time for dinner and you start to feel your stomach yelling at you for food, curb your appetite by snacking on almonds, walnuts or cashews. Their healthy fats will keep you full until dinnertime, and they’ll also help keep your blood sugar from spiking.


Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water during the day. Dehydration can often make you feel hungrier than you really are, and that can cause you to overeat. By drinking enough water, you’ll feel full faster and for longer periods of time.


Take Small Portions

At dinnertime, the best way to divide your plate is by percentages. Using imaginary lines, divide your plate in half, then divide one section in half again. In the big half, add greens and veggies. On one quarter, add the meat. On the remaining quarter, add some carbs like mashed potatoes. If you love cranberry sauce, try to stick to one tablespoon. (Most cranberry sauce contains a lot of sugar.)


Eat Only a Little Dessert

Okay, the best option would be just to skip dessert. But I know that’s hard to do. So just make sure to grab a small portion and eat it with the smallest spoon you have. That way, you’ll feel as if your dessert lasts longer and your brain will have time to recognize when you’re full. Enjoy your dessert with a freshly brewed cup of herbal tea.


DO NOT Go for a Second Round

Leftovers will be there tomorrow, and really. Who doesn’t love leftovers? You can savor the food the next day at lunch or dinner using the same guidelines I’ve just outlined.


Get Exercise

Do not skip exercise in the weeks following Thanksgiving. If you’re allergic to exercise, try a few relaxing walks, either after dinner on Thanksgiving or the day after. The exercise will help you feel more energized and burn off extra calories left over from your feast. And who knows? Maybe you’ll enjoy it and make it a part of your everyday routine.

Remember not to hide behind the excuse that Thanksgiving is only once a year. I mean, it is, but the winter holidays are next. So by falling into a pattern of overeating, you set yourself up for a vicious cycle of overindulging and feeling awful, and festivities of any sort are supposed to leave you feeling great.

Happy-healthy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you good health through wise nutrition,

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