#1. Be Grateful:
At it’s more true core, Thanksgiving is a day (and weekend) to be grateful, to appreciate and to marvel at all the wonderful things that life holds.
Gratitude is huge. Daily….not just once a year. But, once a year is a pretty good starting place if you’re not in the habit of it, to gather up and collect more bits of goodness to revel in. As in, write them down. Don’t be lazy about it. You know why?
Because when you stop to pick up on and soak in those little moments, people, and tiny glimpses of light… when you start actively calling your brain’s attention to those things, a totally magical thing happens: they multiply.
More pop up. Your brain keeps searching for more and more. And suddenly, life seems to burst with them.
Once you know that, it’s hard to resist doing some form of it daily. Truthfully, it’s been one of the best, life-changing little rituals I’ve made the space for in my own life. It’s all in how you see things, and you always get the choice.
TO DO: Before your workout/hike/long walk/yoga Thursday morning (yes, I’m casually just slipping that in there for you), take 15 minutes and write down all of the amazing, wonderful things you have to be thankful for– anything in your life that brings you joy, big or small.
Give love to that list. Sit and take in how those things feel in your life.
Repeat on a weekly basis, and watch your life expand in the best ways.
#2. Upgrade What You Love: You all already know my thoughts on this. Don’t use gross-out processed food ingredients in your dishes (um, one quick little glance at that old school campbell’s cream of mushroom soup might be all the motivation you need to A) get your tush to Whole Foods, or B) create the flavors from scratch using real cream, mushrooms, thyme, green beans and sauteed onions).
The goal isn’t to be perfect and rule bound– it’s to just eat real food and do the best you can to ENHANCE your favorite dishes with more flavor (not less). No one actually loses here. Anything and everything can be made in a real-food way.
Need some ideas on what exactly this means? My new fun healthy holiday guide has over 70 crowd-pleasing, healthy and easy recipes for the holiday season ahead, for every course and every kind of craving.
See the full list of recipes or download it here.
TO DO: If you’re cooking a dish, read the ingredient list of all of your supplies. If there is a way to upgrade it to real food, with recognizable and pronounceable ingredients, do so.
It’s worth it if you’re planning to have leftovers of the dish, so you can feel good about eating it in the days after.
#3. It Ain’t a Free-For-All: Being spontaneous is really fun, but it’s rarely successful or a tactic that helps you feel great, from a eating perspective. When left to our own devices with free-range of eating any and everything, most of us get a little too crazy.
Which is fun in the moment, until we physically feel bad from it, then feel guilty about it, then continue on the crazy train all weekend (or season) long. Prevent it all with this:
TO DO: Have a thought-out gameplan for what you’re going to do– from drinking water, your workout, and what you’re going to eat earlier that day. Most “holidays” are just one meal of the day. Identify the things you are so excited to have, and those that you really could care less about.
You have a limited amount of room in your stomach anyways, so why waste precious space?
#4. It’s Just a Dinner Party: If Thanksgiving or the holidays give you anxiety, think about it this way: when you take the hype out about the day for over-eating, in reality, it’s just another dinner party. So treat it like one.
TO DO: Eat some salad and vegetables and some good quality protein (turkey) or other sides of your choice (only the ones you are obsessed with).
And then pick 2 special, more indulgent things to go along with it. Mine is always delicious wine and little bite of the inside of the pumpkin pie. For some, it may be dinner rolls and an after dinner liquor.
Whatever it is– love, enjoy and savor it, but don’t forget about the other good things on your plate.
#5. Have a plan for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And an even bigger one for Monday: As in, what are you going to do when you wake up the next morning? How are you going to eat? How do you want to feel come Monday?
How do you want to feel come that next week when we hit December 1st? Let’s break it down:
When you indulge and eat more sugar, alcohol or unclean foods, you will automatically crave more of them the next day. So you have more. And then more the next. And before you know it, you don’t feel awesome, you’re tired and you feel fat. AKA, not fun. So think about it ahead of time.
TO DO: Again, don’t wing it. Depending on where you are with your health goals, that may mean factoring in a day or two for leftovers or planning a weekend of relaxing and eating.
If that’s right for you, that’s great. For others, that may mean getting up for a fun workout/walk/hike/yoga, making a green smoothie when you’re hungry, and having a turkey salad or turkey soup for lunch the next day instead. You always have a choice.
Love this recipe? You’d love the cookbook then too, or the Simply Real Health Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection (with over 70 easy, healthy upgrades to the dishes we all love!)