How to Eat SMART (Not Healthy) this Thanksgiving

Can you believe Thanksgiving is here? My social media account seems to know what week it is as they are overloaded with Thanksgiving recipes.  Brie appetizers, cranberry sauces, sweet potato casseroles, stuffings, turkey brines, rubs, and rolls.  Not to mention pumpkin everything, and apple and pecan pies. My mouth is already salivating just thinking about all the delicious foods ahead of me. It’s pretty obvious (to me at least) that Thanksgiving wins the “food” holiday trophy of the year.  So with a holiday revolving around food, how can you stay on track but still enjoy.


I do not expect anyone to eat “healthy” on Thanksgiving nor do I believe anyone should.  It’s a holiday, you are supposed to enjoy yourself and enjoy your family, friends, and of course food.  Healthy eating is a broad term I agree.  Does healthy eating mean no grains or sweets, or just a bite this Thursday?  Does healthy eating mean I will pass on the potatoes, pumpkin pie, crescent rolls, or red wine?  Does it mean I am going to bring my own food to the meal so I know I am “eating healthy” and stop the food guilt from coming later that evening or next day?  If you answered yes to any of these, I hope what your about to read will give you some other ideas to try.  Let’s remember a holiDAY is just that, ONE day.  So let’s ditch the idea of eating healthy, restricting yourself of foods, and for heaven’s sake ELIMINATE FOOD GUILT that might be lurking behind enemy lines. Let’s instead EAT SMART this Thursday.

SMART EATING = NOT depriving or restricting yourself, listening to your body’s hunger and full cues, savoring the food, and focusing on the true meaning of the holiday, FAMILY and FRIENDS.

Tips to SMART Eating… not only this Thanksgiving but for many more days & holidays to come

  1. Eat Breakfast

Seems simple right?  Many clients I have worked with have similar thinking, “I will save up my calories today for X.” X being Thanksgiving dinner for our purposes.

Why this is a bad idea: Going most of the day without eating will leave you starving and in feast and binge mode by the time you get to Thanksgiving dinner.  Simply put, if you do not eat breakfast and even a small lunch on Thanksgiving you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Get the metabolism going in the AM, start your day with water and eat something.  Pretend it is like any other day.



  1. FORGET (now and forever) the “last supper” mindset

I am guilty of doing this in the past… “I better eat as much of that sweet potato casserole as I can because it will be a whole year before I get them again”…. Whether it’s the sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, stuffing, or every dish on the table its not like you can’t enjoy the same dish another day, week, meal. The typical Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to only be one day of the year.  I can make sweet potato casserole, roasted turkey breast, green beans and cranberries for Sunday, Monday or even Thursday dinner in January, March, or even July.  You will have these foods again so please hide the “last supper” mindset deep inside so it will never come out again J if it comes out you most definitely will be binging and feel disgustingly full.

last supper


  1. Don’t fill up on Appetizers

Alright so you succeed in tip number one, you ate some breakfast, maybe a snack and small lunch.  You listened to your body, ate when you were hungry and ate just enough to feel satisfied.  Thanksgiving dinner is only an hour or so away and you hit the appetizer table.  Hey, I love appetizers so don’t restrict yourself, go for some of your favorites BUT again this is a preview to dinner so don’t go crazy.  Have a small plate, pick two or three favorite apps then put your plate down.


  1. Remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Holiday is the perfect illustration of the power of food and how it brings people together.  With food we make friends, possible lovers, and celebrate countless events small and large with those we love.  One of the most well-known bible verses “to bread bread together” shows us the power of food in building relationships.   In my eyes, the true meaning of Thanksgiving is gathering with your family and friends to enjoy not only that day but to enjoy and give thanks to the love and support their lives give.  It is a day to give thanks to God, to various people in your life and to the achievements that wouldn’t have been possible without those people.  The food is a plus and a way to celebrate nad give thanks BUT let’s not make it a focus.  The focus is the people we are lucky to share the delicious meal with.



  1. Slow down and smell the turkey: Savor the food and drinks

You have dominated Smart eating, you ate breakfast, didn’t go crazy on appetizers or drinks and just sat down for Thanksgiving dinner.  “Last supper” mindset is nowhere to be found and the true meaning of Thanksgiving is loud and clear with the blessed family and friends that surround you. With your delicious plate of food in front of you, my last tip for SMART eating is TO ENJOY IT!  Food is an enjoyment.  Use every sense to enjoy the food. Smell the deliciousness (is that a word) of the food.  Take your time while you eat.  Truly taste the food rather than shoveling it in.  Sit back, laugh, tell a story, share with the table what you are thankful for.  Enjoy the food and every single food dish that you want to enjoy!

Happy Turkey day everyone, hope you have a blessed day full of laughter, love and lots of wonderful food! GOBBLE GOBBLE