How to Handle Thanksgiving Eating in 4 Steps

Ahhhh Thanksgiving…… The official kickoff of the holiday season.

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Cornbread
  • Fall leaves
  • Start of Christmas music
  • Black Friday
  • ……..and the 10-15 pounds that typically come in those 6 weeks.

It’s inevitable. It happens every year, and you spend January through March (maybe longer) reversing the holiday damage.

How do you stop the cycle?

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Stop eating those fatty and carby but delicious Thanksgiving foods, right? Maybe bring your own food? Be on your phone the entire day dialed in to Myfitnesspal?

God NO!

I for one love Thanksgiving more than Christmas and New Years put together. It's all the fun of the holidays without the stress of gifts and shopping. But how do you handle Thanksgiving eating with all the nibbles, appetizers, snacks, and finger foods? And more importantly, how the hell do you even keep track of it???

Today, we are going to go through it all.

I am going to take you through exactly what I will be doing, step by step. My Mom makes one hell of a feast. The house will be covered in food and temptation will rear its head at every corner with cheese, crackers, nuts, breads, chocolates, cookies, etc. The key is these next few simple steps.

Before I dive in, let’s remember something. Thanksgiving is a holiday. It is a day to pause, look around, and be thankful for all the wonderful things you have in your life. So I am giving you these steps to plan in advance, so you won’t be checking your phone every 20 seconds and feel disconnected from the day.

Step 1: Break your day into 2 parts: Pre- Feast and Feast

So, let’s look at what I will be doing. I will probably be up at 10am to catch a quick workout, and then I’ll finish my preparation and head to my Mom’s at 4pm.

Timeline showing pre-feast time from 10am to 4pm. 4pm and on is feast and nap time.

Pre-Feast Eating

In these 6 hours, I will try to eat every 2-3 hours, but I will mainly focus on eating lean proteins. They will likely be:

Meal 1

Meal 2

Meal 3

Protein Shake (35g of Protein)

Egg White Omelet with Chicken Sausage and Veggies (30g of Protein)

Protein Bar - Quest or Pure Protein (25g of Protein)

This will cover roughly 50-60% of my protein for the day. Only 10% of my carbs and fat will be used.

Feast Eating

Since I am eating mainly protein in the morning, I will save a majority of my fat and carbs for the evening. I am breaking it down into percentages so I can pace myself once I get there and enjoy the foods that I want to enjoy. I am not a big dessert person, so I will save most of my protein and carbs for apps and dinner.

Apps

Dinner

Dessert

  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Bread

  • 30% of Carbs
  • 30% of Fat
  • 5% of Protein
  • Steak
  • Filo Dough with Ground Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • caret-right
    Stuffing

  • 40% of Carbs
  • 40% of Fat
  • 25% of Protein
  • Apple Pie
  • Cookies

  • 20% of Carbs
  • 20% of Fat
  • 10% of Protein

Step 2: Know your Proportions & Nutrition Facts

Knowing your proportions everyday is important, but today you won’t have the benefit of a scale or pre-packaged meals with nutrition facts on them.

The key to the list is not just the foods, but also the serving sizes. For some of your measurements, it will be cut and dry (i.e. 6 crackers). For the more difficult ones,, I am providing a few examples of how you can eye-ball your serving sizes.

1 ounce of cheese

An assortment of cheeses

1 ounce of various cheeses

If the cheese is in cubes, it's roughly 2 cubes. If it is hand sliced, it will be roughly 3-4 pieces.

Deli Sliced/Cured Meats

An assortment of deli meats

For your deli meats, smaller cut meats like salami, capicola will be 2 slices per ounce. For meats cut like pepperoni, 1 ounce = 14 slices. For normal deli slicing, 1 slice = 1 ounce.

Dips

Two spoonfuls of veggie dip

For your dips, your serving size will be 2 tablespoons. Use a normal kitchen spoon for measurement. This is what two level tablespoons on any dip will look like.

Proteins

2oz, 4oz, and 8oz of chicken compared to size of iphone

Use your Iphone as a guide. A 4 ounce piece of chicken, steak, turkey, or fish, will be roughly the size of your iphone.

1 cup/1 scoop of Grains and Starches

Picture of a serving spoon

These serving spoons will be everywhere. 1 scoop is roughly one cup. Don’t put a mountain on top of that spoon and convince yourself because it fit on the spoon, that it is a cup. 1 cup is a level spoon.

1 slice of cake or pie

Picture of a pumpkin pie

1 slice of cake or pie should cover about ⅓ of your plate or be the size of your iPhone. No bigger than that.

Step 3: Pick your Poison

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so saving my macros for dessert is not essential for me. I will re-purpose those toward appetizers, finger foods, and dinner. If you have a sweet tooth, plan for that. No matter what your preference is, make a decision of where you will expend most of your calories, 2nd most, and 3rd most. You can have whatever you like, but you can’t have everything you like. Now move to step 4.

Step 4: Plan

Remember, the point of this all is to enjoy Thanksgiving. Plan ahead of time and take a moment to reflect on what you are thankful for. Life moves quickly and you should use the day as it is intended: to give thanks for all the wonderful things and even the things that weren't so wonderful that made you grow and become a better person.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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