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Hello, friends! If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re trying to get trim and healthy (or you just find me obnoxiously entertaining). So what do we do with the fast-approaching holiday season – like Thanksgiving next week?!? Wedges of Grandma’s pumpkin pie, mounds of savory stuffing, heaps of mashed potatoes dripping with a sludge of fat and flour – it’s a recipe for a tasty disaster that could catapult you into a season of over-indulgence over the next month from which you will be trying to recover for the duration of 2018. Have you been there and done that before? Are you scared it will happen again? Don’t worry, because today we’re going to talk about strategies so you can face Thanksgiving (and the Christmas season) with confidence!
My Personal Strategy: The Easy Route
I may be a food blogger, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoy being in the kitchen every waking hour of the day! I like easy recipes and minimal fuss just as much as if not more than the average woman! Minimalism is my catchphrase, whether that means stuffing all my clothes into a backpack for a weeklong trip so I don’t have to check a bag at the airport or eating chocolate oatmeal for breakfast every morning. I like to take a minimalist approach to Thanksgiving dinner as well. This year my family will be heading to my grandparents’ house to spend the day with my mom’s extended family, so Thanksgiving dinner will be a potluck affair. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, a nice salad, sweet potato soufflé, a vegetable, dinner rolls, and various pie choices will probably be on the menu. (I’ll be honest, we’ve never been stuffing people.) You know what I’m going to do? Eat meat, salad, and vegetables and take a sugar-free dessert option. There. That simple. After following the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating for four years, I find it much easier to just say no to all the junk. It doesn’t even look that good any more! If I cheat on anything, I’ll have a few bites of my mom’s sweet potato soufflé because it’s my favorite thing, but a few bites will be enough to satisfy me and won’t do too much damage. I’ve found that being content with less is so much easier (hmm…and more biblical!) than feeling sorry for myself because I can’t have all the other good stuff or making a complete THM-friendly meal. Not that there’s anything wrong with making your Thanksgiving dinner THM friendly, but if it makes you do twice as much work as you would do otherwise…well, I for one am just not into that! If you are, more power to you! Just don’t let it stress you out because that completely negates the point of Thanksgiving – a time to contemplate all the blessings God has given us and have a meaningful time with the people we are close to.
Alternate Option #1: Make a Complete THM Dinner
The beauty of Trim Healthy Mama is that if you want a traditional on-plan Thanksgiving dinner, you can have one! I’m going to list some THM-friendly versions of Thanksgiving favorites in case you want to go that route. This would be a THM:S dinner:
- For the turkey, check out Dawn’s brown bag method!
- For the ham, try Sarah’s baked ham glaze or this Maple Orange Glazed Ham from Joy Filled Eats.
- Garlic Mashed Caulitoes (Necessary Food, pg. 121)
- Cheesy Party “Potatoes”
- Easy Gravy (Necessary Food, pg. 422)
- Special Occasion Salad (Necessary Food, pg. 147) – This is our favorite special occasion salad and has cranberries, feta cheese, and candied pecans along with a sweet Italian dressing.
- Green Bean Casserole (Necessary Food, pg. 124)
- Sweet Potato Soufflé (Necessary Food, pg. 125)
- Jiggly Cranberry Orange Salad (Necessary Food, pg. 138)
- You could try this Spicy Sausage and Cheddar Stuffing from All Day I Dream About Food. I’ll be releasing my own stuffing recipe very soon, so subscribe via email to make sure you see it! (UPDATE: here it is! Baked Skillet Dressing coming right up!)
- Cheddar Drop Biscuits (Necessary Food, pg. 166)
- Pumpkin Pie (Necessary Food, pg. 346)
- Pecan Custard Pie (Necessary Food, pg. 347)
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Delight (Necessary Food, pg. 368)
- Peanut Butter Cream Pie (Necessary Food, pg. 344) – This may be nontraditional, but my mom often makes peanut butter cream pie along with pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.
Alternate Option #2: Go Off Plan
Oh yes, you’re very aware of this option. 😉 To some of you, this isn’t an option. To others, it’s a very real possibility but you’re hoping I’ll give you an easy way around it. (I did!) To another group, anything other than this is not an option! To you I say – “Keep it moderate.” No, you don’t have to feel “guilty” for going off plan because no one is forcing you to eat this way. From a Biblical standpoint, we need to take care of our bodies and we are not to be gluttons, and I think that a moderate Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of a generally healthy diet can fit those guidelines. Take moderate portions, and don’t forget that with all the options usually available on a Thanksgiving table, you can easily end up with a pile of food that you really don’t need. Start small!
The downside to going off plan for Thanksgiving dinner – even though one moderate meal isn’t going to be a major issue – is that you might never get back on plan! You know where that leads! That’s why many of you were looking for Trim Healthy Mama at the beginning! I challenge you to use self control if you decide to go off plan. Take small portions and savor them in small bites. Not only will this do less damage to your body, but it will set a precedent of willpower that will help you jump right back on plan. You still get to enjoy your favorite foods (in fact, you’ll probably enjoy them more!), but you won’t detract nearly as much from your long-term goals.
If you have health issues (such as gluten intolerance), this option is obviously not an option because there is more at stake than just weight loss. Also, if you’ve been on THM for awhile and aren’t used to eating junk, your body might feel physically sick if you give it a bunch of sugar and white flour! Is it worth it? You’ll have to make that call yourself. To me, it’s not.
What to Do If You Go Off Plan
Absolutely, no question, jump right back on plan the next day. Even if you’re still out of town, start making the smartest choices you can. Don’t let a cheat day turn into a cheat weekend, which will then turn into a cheat week, which will turn into a cheat season.
Deep S recipes are great for clearing all the excess glucose out of your body and revving your metabolism back up! (CLICK HERE for a list of my Deep S recipes!) Start the next day with a big bowl of Chocolate Custard or a Velvety Peppermint Sip. I have a Velvety Golden Detox recipe scheduled for next Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, so make sure you’re signed up to get updates via email so you can see it first thing! (And pick up some fresh lemons, fresh ginger, and turmeric this week. Just sayin’. Fresh is so much better.)
Make a big pot of Turkey Pot Pie Chowder with your leftover turkey so you have an easy on-plan supper option with leftovers for lunches throughout the next week. Having stuff made ahead of time will help you say no to unhealthy convenience food options! Leftovers for.the.win.
What’s Your Strategy?
How do you approach Thanksgiving (or Christmas)? Share your thoughts (and past experiences) in the comments – I would love to hear what you have to say!
Are You New to Trim Healthy Mama?
Head over to my Starting THM page! There you’ll find:
- A quick summary of Trim Healthy Mama and its various books.
- My 5 top tips for getting started.
- Helpful links to posts that answer all your questions.
- Roundups of easy, beginner-level recipes.
- Explanations of all the new-to-you ingredients and where to find them.
- Click here to check it out!
What is this “Necessary Food”?
“So what is Necessary Food?” you may be asking. That would be my cookbook! It’s spiral bound, contains around 400 recipes (some from here on the blog, some exclusive to the cookbook), and sports lots of pictures! You can CLICK HERE to get more info, take a peek inside, and order!
I have a calendar too!
You might also want to check out my newest project – Necessary Time 2018. This calendar with twelve NEW recipes (and a collectible recipe card for each!) was just released after 3 weeks of preorder and will be available as supplies last. These calendars would make the perfect Christmas gift, and we’re offering special deals on orders of multiples, so take advantage of that! CLICK HERE to get your order in! Recipes include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Butter, Mocha Cheesecake, Chickpea Curry over Mashed Caulitoes, and many more!
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