Thanksgiving can be an amazing American holiday that usually brings thoughts of warmth, fond friendships, family, and gratefulness. For many of us, Thanksgiving can also be the beginning of a stressful time. Whether we’re focused on holiday shopping or year-end reports, this time of year can often throw us off track. And then there’s that: the stress of probably getting off track again this year. It’s time to let this mentality go. Time to embrace the meaning behind Thanksgiving and say goodbye to weight-related holiday stress. Our team of Health Professionals has come together to share our favorite holiday tips to help you plan for the best holiday season yet!

“Avoid leftovers at Thanksgiving at all costs!!! If you’re hosting, send guests home with to-go plates or donate the extras to a local soup kitchen…. if you’re a guest, don’t bring home extra PIE!! Don’t let your one meal ‘bleed out’ into a 4 day eating extravaganza!!” – Sara Hill

“Avoid skipping meals to save up for a feast, you’ll end up feeling too hungry and will be more likely to over-indulge.  Instead, stick to small-portioned, well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day so you can still leave room for the big meal without going overboard. ” – Laura Falconi

“Our family signs up for the local Turkey Trot. Then we spend the day cleaning, decorating, and having fun before sitting down to a delicious, non-traditional slow cooker meal (like homemade chicken and dumplings). It helps us focus more on the reason behind the tradition rather than the tradition of overeating itself.” – Stacey Gretka

“Use a small dinner plate for your meal, take a “spoonful – size” taste of everything you want to try instead of serving size. Then, instead of having seconds right away, wait a few hours and have a second small meal.” – Kimberly Norton Krecker

Tip #2-

“Eat your healthy, well balanced meals (or follow your TNT meal plan) earlier in the day. Don’t save up your calories for that one big meal. And stay active… Do a family outdoor activity instead of just sitting around.” – Angela Wilkinson

“Plan what you’re going to enjoy in advance.  If you look forward to the cornbread stuffing all year, then you shouldn’t have to skip it!  Fill a portion of your plate with your favorite food while still leaving plenty of room for healthy selections like vegetables and lean protein.” – Laura Falconi

Tip #3-

“When you do begin eating, slow down, savor, and enjoy! Put the fork down between each bite and really experience your meal; don’t eat what you don’t care for and truly appreciate that which you do love. Not only with this leave you more satisfied with your choices, but you’ll also realize when you’ve actually become full before it’s too late!” – Stacey Gretka

“I go for the ‘Two-Bite Rule.’ If you’re a try everything type of person, take only enough of it for two bites. Then move on to the next item. For leftovers portion them out in your lunch Tupperware from the start so you aren’t tempted to take more than you need. This also helps to get out the door faster when back to work and make the holidays last longer!” – Meghan Neary
“For me, staying active is the key. When you are doing Holiday shopping don’t fight for a closer parking spot, use it as exercise. Another trick is managing the drinking at holiday dinners and parties. One trick is to drink water in between alcoholic beverages, so you feel you have something in your hand and you end up drinking fewer empty calories. Also, putting water in a wine glass is another great option!” – Susanne Ware

Practice mindful eating at Thanksgiving. Focus more of your time and energy on enjoying the company around you and less on the food. When you do fill your plate, remember to enjoy each and every bite, this will help you feel more nourished and satisfied with less on your plate.” – Sandy Gebhart

“Make yourself accountable by confiding in a family member that you are hoping not to overeat during the holidays.  That way, there will be a person you can trust and rely on to remind you of your health goals during this tempting time of year.” – Laura Falconi

“Re-think the menu. Spruce up old recipes with fresher ingredients and swap out high-fat traditional choices with lower-fat, higher-fiber ones. Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, stuff skin-on sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows instead of sweet potato souffle, roast turkey breast in the slow cooker instead of deep frying the whole bird. The options are endless: you can even add chia seeds to the cranberry sauce for a quick and easy nutrient boost!” – Stacey Gretka
Tip #6-
“Eat the things you love, and leave the things you like. Also make a healthy dish: side of veggies, salad or maybe make a healthy version for a dessert. My specialty is normally a Brussels sprout salad. Yum!” – Chelsea Castellanos

“I try to wait 15 min before allowing myself to go back for a second helping. Most times I find that after that time I don’t need or want more to eat.” – Julia Callaghan
Tip #7-
“Cover 2/3 to 3/4 of your plate with the  “lean and clean” choices (white meat turkey, green beans or Chelsea’s Brussels sprout salad). Allow a smaller portion of your plate 1/3 to 1/4 for the traditional higher fat stuff like Aunt LaVerne’s mashed potatoes!” – Carol Goodwin
“Slice and individually wrap leftover desserts so you can continue to treat yourself in moderation (usually one slice per week is a good pace). You won’t feel obligated to gorge yourself when you know it won’t all be gone after today!” – Stacey Gretka
Tip #8-
Our recommendations for an easy, healthy holiday: