Turkey Day Tips to Keep You from Tipping the Scale

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | November 21, 2016

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. If you thought Halloween was scary, brace yourself – Thanksgiving through New Year is the most feared season for the health-conscious and weight-conscious. With temptations lurking around every corner, how will you stay on track towards your goal this holiday season? Here are my favorite tips to not only avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain but also keep your energy level up to handle the holiday hustle and bustle!

  1. Eat breakfast. This tip is an oldie but a goodie. Start the day one step ahead of the game by eating a healthy and filling breakfast. You’ll be able to resist the basket of chocolates at work if you’re not starving before lunchtime. If you’re on an empty stomach, however, you’ll succumb to your cravings and land face first in that basket of sugar bombs.
  2. Plan ahead. I know, I know – we’re rushing around and preparing like crazy for two solid months, so extra planning seems impossible. Luckily, all you need to plan are your snacks. Carry a cooler bag in your car or keep one in your office. Make sure it’s packed with high protein and high fiber foods that provide you with consistent energy to get you through the day. Great ideas for a cooler bag include Greek yogurt, apples, cheese sticks, edamame, bananas, oranges, carrots and hummus, peanut butter sandwiches, and low sugar granola bars. Planning ahead will ensure that you have fuel to power you through the day as well as keep you from that bowl of sweets!
  3. A toast to lemon water! Go ahead and raise that glass, but fill it up with seltzer or lemon water! Too much alcohol sets you up for making unhealthy choices, such as excessive snacking and even more alcohol. It also drains your energy in the long run. Wake up feeling invigorated and ready to take on the day or roll over with that dreaded hangover – your choice.
  4. Move it or lose it! And by lose it, I mean losing your mind. This is a very busy season but if there’s one thing to not lose sight of, it’s your health. Make sure you schedule a workout in as if it were a doctor’s appointment. Even if it’s 20 to 30 minutes long, get it done! If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in an overcrowded gym in January with everyone else who didn’t make exercise a priority.
  5. Choose wisely. Holiday meals can actually be healthy! Roasted turkey, carrots, and potatoes are a perfect combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and micronutrients. It’s the stuffing, gravy, and desserts that tip the scale the other way. Focus on eating good sources of lean protein, such as fish and turkey, while loading up on veggies like mixed greens, green beans, carrots, and brussel sprouts. And instead of buttery mashed potatoes, opt for baked potatoes or roasted red potatoes. By the time dessert rolls around, you might even feel satisfied enough to skip the sweets altogether and go for fresh fruits instead.

If you typically gain weight over the holidays, it’s time to break that chain! By picking up these healthy habits today and making smart food choices, you can stick to your health goals while still enjoying the holiday season.

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles's profile picture

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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