Ahhhh Thanksgiving…… The official kickoff of the holiday season.
- 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?
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?
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.
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:
Protein Shake - Strengthlete Repair
35g of protein
Post Workout Meal
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.
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.
30% of Carbs
30% of Fat
Filo Dough with Ground Turkey
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.
What I have done is compiled a list of the most common Thanksgiving foods with their nutrition facts. This will be essential for step 3. If you are not counting your macros, use this as a simple guideline. If you are counting, you know exactly what to do.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
1 slice of cake or pie should cover about ⅓ of your plate or be the size of your iPhone. No bigger than that.
Once again, I have done all the heavy lifting for you in our Thanksgiving Prep Sheet. This will give you the nutrition facts on the most common foods at a Thanksgiving dinner. Use this as a frame of reference.
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
Once you make your decision on your poison, allocate your calories using our Thanksgiving Worksheet. This will help you figure out how to split your day and courses on Thanksgiving day. I have recorded a video to help you work through the worksheets.
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.
Thank you so much for all your support of Strengthlete this year. We hope that 2017 is an even a better year with much love and lean bodies!
For access to both videos that I recorded for Thanksgiving, join our Nutribuild Private Group on Facebook.