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Originally Published: Nov 24, 2015

Enjoy the holiday feasts without feeling defeat!

Thanksgiving … we can smell the turkey roasting in the oven, taste Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie, and imagine the traditional trimmings that will completely cover our dinner plates. This special day centers around a celebratory meal with an abundance of delicious foods. For those of us watching our waistlines, it can be a challenge to enjoy this holiday feast without feeling defeat.

Here are two general strategies to follow…

Clean up your favorite recipes

One common strategy is to make healthier versions of your favorite recipes. Substitute evaporated milk or skim milk for whole milk and cream, cut the amount of sugar in your recipe by one-third, or substitute applesauce for oil to reduce the fat and total calories in traditionally calorie-dense foods. For even more healthy ingredient swapping ideas, click here for an article via

Develop a healthy “mindset”

Another strategy that is often overlooked is to have a healthy mindset. Try these mindful strategies to help you eat healthier, stay active, and reduce any anxiety you may be feeling:

  1. Maintain a realistic expectation. Recognize that maintaining your weight is a far more realistic expectation than losing weight over the holidays. Even the most disciplined of dieters can struggle with temptations during the holiday season.
  2. Maintain food awareness. When you look at the delicious spread of food on the table, ask yourself, “What do I really love?” You don’t have to try everything. Go for the dishes in your holiday feast that you treasure the most because they are only available once a year. Savor every mouthful. If you don’t love it after you taste it, stop eating it.
  3. Maintain activity. Instead of plopping on the couch afterwards, grab a relative and go for a walk or play fun, active games like Wii or charades. The next day, plan on a more active workout.
  4. Maintain perspective. A single day of overeating won’t make or break your eating plan. It takes days of overeating to gain weight. If you overindulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day, and leave your guilt behind.