Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays–food, family, and tryptophan.
Lots of tryptophan.
And while Thanksgiving and the holidays are such a joyous time for many people, some worry about gaining excess weight and can’t fully relax and soak up the true meaning of the holiday season.
There will be treats, holiday parties, and plenty of spiced egg nog to go around.
To help you really be able to enjoy this time, and not have to worry about gaining extra fat, I’ve come up with 4 nutrition tricks you can use to reduce the stress about overindulging and gaining weight, and, help you continue burning fat through the holidays.
#1 Get in some protein before big meals
I’m almost positive you’ll be invited to some holiday parties (at least I hope so :)) and also spending time enjoying dinners with your family.
One of the best ways to keep you on track while enjoying many of the foods you love is to consume protein rich foods before a big meal, party, or family dinner.
By consuming protein-rich foods like chicken, beef, greek yogurt or even a protein shake, you’ll help reduce hunger which can help with overeating.
If you show up to a meal or party and you’re ravenously hungry, chances are pretty good you’re going to eat everything in sight.
Instead, drink a protein shake or chow down on a piece of meat an hour or so before the meal to reduce hunger cravings or satiate a sweet tooth.
Then, eat a normal sized portion of the foods you’ve been waiting all year for. You won’t have to worry about over consuming anything because by the time the meal comes around you won’t be starving.
You’ll be way more likely to eat closer to your calories goals by having a smallish (20-30 grams) source of protein before the real fun begins.
#2 Make ‘lower’ calorie options of your favorite desserts
Another trick for trimming the waistline through the holidays is to make your own pies, desserts, and dishes using lower calorie ingredients.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to completely skip the ‘normal’ goodies. You know, like mom’s homemade cookies or grandma’s super secret sweet potato pie.
But, if you’re eating these things every day without paying attention to your calorie intake, you will likely gain weight.
To help you get the best of both worlds–eating yummy desserts and losing fat–try making your own ‘healthier’ options.
Healthier is kind of a loaded term so let’s call them lower calorie treats. These treats will help to quench your thirst for calorie-loaded family recipes.
Precision Nutrition has a whole ton of desserts you can make this holiday season to save calories while still enjoying some yummy treats. Check out the recipes HERE.
#3 Budget calories
Keeping with the theme of maximizing enjoyment during the holidays without maximizing your waist, you can use intermittent fasting at various times to give you some ‘wiggle’ room in the calorie department.
By fasting, you’ll essentially reduce calories earlier in the day which will give you a larger amount you can eat later in the day.
If Thanksgiving dinner is in the late afternoon or early evening you may want to use this strategy to save up extra calories for the big dinner.
If going completely without food for half the day is something you’ve never tried before, then maybe having a small protein shake several hours after waking would be a good idea.
Many of my clients like to use this approach when they know they’ll be out on the weekends or for these special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
By effectively shortening your ‘eating window’ you’ll have a better chance to stay within your calorie targets and prevent overeating.
Use the intermittent fasting strategy for those times when you know you’ll be eating large meals that’ll more than likely pack a big calorie punch.
#4 Follow the 80/20 ‘rule’
Ever heard this ‘rule’ before?
It’s pretty simple but it can have a really positive impact on your diet success, especially when we’re talking about the holidays.
80% of your overall diet should come from whole food sources. Stuff like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, minimally processed carbs. You know these foods already.
Then, the 20% can come from typical holiday staples like cookies, pies, and of course sweet potato casserole with all the fixin’s.
What this means is that as long as you eat sensibly the majority of the time, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
You’re not going to get fat from enjoying a piece of pie after dinner.
Or a cookie or two and some milk when Santa’s on his way.
As long as you’re following this general rule you won’t gain extra ‘seasonal’ weight only to be stressing about losing it come January 1st.
Burn Fat this Holiday Season
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