How to Enjoy Thanksgiving and Avoid the Food Coma

thanksgiving food comaHave you ever suffered eater’s remorse?

If you’ve been exercising and watching your weight lately, you may be feeling you’re doomed as the holiday season approaches. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy the festivities without derailing yourself too much, and you’ll do a lot better if you have a plan. There are lots of smart strategies you can use to enjoy Thanksgiving, and yes, most of them will help you avoid the dreaded food coma!

It all kind of begins as we roll into Thanksgiving. For some of us, though, it KEEPS on rolling… all the way through Christmas, and then there’s New Year’s, too! It’s no wonder the gym is so packed in January!

Yes, you can enjoy Thanksgiving!

Not to worry though, a one day event like Thanksgiving isn’t going to set you back far enough to undo all your progress in one swoop. Unless, of course, that one day feast turns into a weekend of treats, which turns into a whole season of big meals and party food.

So let’s devise our plan!

My goal is not to deprive myself, but I do plan to be prepared with a strategy. I will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner using these tips – from how I fill up my plate to what I do the next day and throughout the weekend. I hope you will find some of them useful so you can enjoy Thanksgiving, too!

Rise and grind!

The first thing I will make sure to do is to get my workout in. This is a great start to a day that will be capped off with a bigger than usual meal. I’ll also make sure to do some extra cardio…

Fast forward to dinnertime and I’m ready to fill my plate…

Don’t start with the starch.

My first tip is to start “backwards” by NOT filling the plate with my starches, like rolls and mashed potatoes, first. Carbs are my definite weakness. Honestly, I could probably eat a whole plate of them and be quite satisfied. Don’t get me wrong, I WILL be eating them, but I won’t START with them. Instead, the veggies will go on my plate first, and they will fill almost 1/2 of the plate. Then there won’t be quite as much room for the bread and potatoes, and I can eat more food for fewer calories and better nutrients (and still possibly have my dessert). ;)

Next up is the protein.

Time for turkey! It’s very likely that the turkey will be one of the healthiest items on the menu, assuming the piece I choose isn’t wrapped in strips of bacon (is that even a thing?). White meat is better in terms of calories, but dark meat has more iron, so I will probably take a little of each. You can be the judge for yourself on that one. Oh yeah, and go easy on the gravy.

Ok, now for the carbs!

My strategy, and what I recommend for you (especially if we are planning on dessert later) is to pick one or two favorites and just watch the portion sizes. Remember, there isn’t that much room left on the plate by now anyway, so you’re probably doing just fine. And don’t forget, carbs are inside your vegetables, too!

Finally, time to eat!

My advice here is to just eat and enjoy – until you’re full, that is, not until you’re stuffed. Remember, we are trying to avoid the food coma. Take time to chat with family and friends around the table, be thankful for all of the blessings in your life, and really enjoy the meal. Eat slowly and take it all in. Your brain will realize you are full soon enough, but not if you scarf down the meal at the speed of light. You probably won’t even need to go back for seconds.
Look, Ma! No food coma!

You survived the meal, now what?

Once Thanksgiving is over, get back to healthy eating the next day. If you went a little overboard on some of the carbs or the sugar, balance it out with lots of vegetables and protein, and drink lots of water. Get your workout in throughout the weekend and try to get back to a regular routine as soon as possible. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the business of taking good care of yourself and reaching your health and fitness goals.
You really can enjoy Thanksgiving for the awesome holiday that it is, but use these tips and you won’t be suffering eaters remorse come Monday morning!

How about you? Do you have any similar strategies you can share for staying in control around all that food?

Psalm 136: 1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 

Strength for your journey,



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