The holiday season is around the corner and Thanksgiving will be here next week.  For most of us with alternative diets or those of us that are trying to hit goals holidays that are centered around food can be difficult.  I hope these seven tips are helpful and take some of the stress out of your holiday.

1. Eat Meals the Day of Thanksgiving

Most people will starve themselves the day of to "make room" for the big meal NOT do this!  You should never skip meals or starve your body.  Not only is this bad for your metabolism, but it is so much easier to over eat when you are mad hungry.  Be sure to eat something like you normally would so you will be less likely to overeat later.

2. Watch the Snacks or the "Graze" Bar

Whether you are cooking the big meal or just hanging around you are bound to be surrounded by food.  Snacking can get you in trouble really quick and then before you know it you have ate a lot of food and you haven't even sat down at the table yet. Be mindful of snacking or grazing as I like to call it.  Appetizers and cheese and cracker trays are just as bad, so think about limiting yourself to a set amount (like two appetizers) before the meal or just stay out of the kitchen if you don't have the willpower.

3. No FAT Pants

Fess up you have a pair in your closet.  You know what I am talking about, those pants you keep in the back of your closet or bottom of your drawer because you can always fit into them no matter how your weight fluctuates.  Or maybe they are stretch or lycra, well now is not the time to wear something that will not physically tell you that you are bloated and have eaten too much.  This may not seem like much, but you will see a difference. Wear real pants to Thanksgiving dinner.

4. Bring Your Own Food

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or going to someone's house, bringing food is always the best way to go.  If you are trying to manage or lose weight or have an alternative diet, this is the easiest way to control what you eat on the big day.  Suggest to bring a vegetable dish or healthier dessert and then at least if you will have a good option among a buffet of not so healthful options.  Being a vegetarian and whole food eater, I am getting used to not having everyone eat like me.  This Thanksgiving I am making Beet and Apple Salad as well as this Autumn Arugula Salad with Acorn Squash and Pomegrante to give me and B healthier dishes to fill up on.

5. Be Active

This may seem silly and everyone will joke about a carb coma or turkey coma, but try to go for a long walk on Thanksgiving.  Being active may mean playing football in the yard with the kids or running a couple miles before heading to where you are going for the big dinner.  Your body will thank you for staying active and you will feel better knowing you are moving and not just laying around all day.

6. Don't Deprive Yourself

The worst thing you can do is deprive yourself and quit cold turkey so to speak.  If you are a gravy lover or sweets fiend, then just limit yourself to a moderate amount.  When you tell yourself you can't have something it will make it that much more difficult for you to stay on track for the long haul.  Don't compromise your long term goals, but don't be unrealistic in your expectations for yourself.  Load up your plate with things you should be eating and then add a little bit of the things that aren't so good for you if it will keep you on track.  I like to use the two bite rule for this.  Just try two bites of the bad food and 8 times out of 10 your craving will be satisfied.

7. Have Fun! Don't Stress

Enjoy yourself and have a good time.  Thanksgiving is about family and being thankful.  Celebrate in your health and the health of those you love.  The more you stress over the food aspect of the holiday, the less time you have to enjoy your blessings.

I hope these tips help you treasure Thanksgiving and keep you from feeling like a stuffed turkey!

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