Follow This Formula to Craft a Healthy Thanksgiving Plate

You've worked hard all year and now you're faced with the ultimate diet trigger: Thanksgiving. You're not alone. Even the fittest and most disciplined of us have been left feeling grateful for elastic waistbands come Black Friday.

Let's be honest: Thanksgiving is all about the food. The average American consumes between 3,000 to 5,000 calories on Turkey Day. Even if eating takes center stage during the holidays it doesn't mean we need to give up on good health. Here's exactly how to build a healthy, balanced Thanksgiving plate without sacrificing flavor or your waistline. 

Follow This Formula to Craft a Healthy Thanksgiving Plate

Ready to get started? It's not complicated, I promise. A perfectly crafted Thanksgiving plate is divided into four sections:

  1. Veggies: 1/2 plate (salad, green beans, etc.)
  2. Protein: 1/4 plate (turkey, baby!)
  3. Carbs: 1/8 plate (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.)
  4. Dessert: 1/8 (all the pumpkin pie feels)

It really is that simple. Yes, you can have stay within your healthy guardrails and have your pumpkin pie too. Go ahead and splurge (you've worked so hard for this!), but just remember: all things in moderation. Want to take it a step further?

  • Use a smaller plate. Studies show a smaller plate helps you eat 22% fewer calories, while a bigger plate will often be licked clean, even if you're not full. 
  • Try healthy food swaps. Swap out this creamy cauliflower mash for traditional potatoes or this low-carb stuffing for the typical bread heavy side. Boom! Your worries—and bread—are history.
  • Start your day with a workout. Starting your day with a workout has three positive impacts: It sets the tone of being in control of our health, you'll burn enough calories for that slice of pumpkin pie, and you'll feel less guilty about a little splurge later in the day.

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving should be about focusing on the more important things, like spending time with loved ones. Make good choices and don't let food shaming spoil a day, that when done right, has as many emotional benefits as it does physical.

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