Every holiday season, I promise myself I will lead a better life, spend more time in the gym than at the dinner table and practice healthier eating habits.
As soon as the leaves change, however, I can barely pull myself away from that fourth glass of wine and Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bar.
Overindulgence is to me as selfies are to Kim Kardashian. It's second nature.
However, this Thanksgiving I plan to make a change. I want to gobble up my holiday dinners the smart way.
Instead of stuffing my face with all the fixin's in sight or starving myself with a pointless crash diet, I sought out some professional help.
Thankfully, Michelle Blum, nutritionist and founder of Nutrish Mish, knows exactly how to cut some shit out during this festive holiday.
What's the key to enjoying the holidays, but not going overboard? Everything in moderation.
Rule #1: Tradition is key.
No matter the recipe, there are certain dishes to be expected at every holiday dinner table.
Thankfully, Blum says traditional Thanksgiving dishes aren't all that bad. In fact, the usual fare has great nutritional value.
Turkey is a lean source of protein, sweet potatoes and yams are a great source of fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Traditional Thanksgiving veggies, such as green beans, carrots, and turnips are also packed with nutrients.
Rule #2: Do not skip the wine.
For all you Olivia Popes out there, this is better news than Fitz and Mellie's divorce.
Allow yourself to indulge a bit on vino, but don't fill up an entire tumbler.
One 5-ounce glass of wine is about 120 calories, so aim to cut that amount in half to 60 calories.
Blum suggests sipping on spritzers.
The club soda will keep you more hydrated, which will prevent that wine-induced headache that only gets worse when Aunt Millie asks you why you're still single.
Essentially, it's best to choose your battles wisely. Don't reach for too many glasses if you're planning on indulging your sweet tooth.
If you love wine, have two glasses. If you love grandma’s apple pie, have a sliver of that and one glass. It is all about balance during the holidays.
Rule #3: Take the buffet-style approach.
First, you're munching away at diced celery and pie filling while cooking alongside your mom. Then, you're spiraling without any idea how you ended up so full before dinner.
Blum says the best antidote to the "eating all day" syndrome is to avoid "mindless" snacking.
Put whatever appetizers and snacks you would like on one plate. Nothing else exists except what is on your plate, and every 2 hours you can fill it up again. That way, you still get to enjoy the food that is out, but it is much more controlled.
Rule #4: Take full advantage of seasonal produce.
You might not have a say in the annual menu, but be vocal about loading your plate with fall veggies.
Fall offers a great variety of hearty veggies that don’t get the attention they deserve when turkey has the spotlight. There are so many yummy ways to incorporate squash, parsnip, cauliflower, pumpkin, brussels sprouts and sweet potato.
Rule #5: Keep a one plate maximum.
If you know you'll want a second helping of your mom's baked mac and cheese, Blum suggests tricking your mind into thinking you're eating more than you really are.
If you know you are going to want to go back for seconds, take a small first helping and a small second helping. That way, it's the same quantity of food as if you took one plate, but you feel like you took two.
Another good trick? Eat your favorite food first, so you won't feel like you're building up to the dish you want most.
Rule #6: Put your side dishes in muffin-size portions.
Portion control is hard to master when your stomach's growling halfway through the Thanksgiving Day football game.
However, it's best to measure your favorite side dish in a muffin tin. It may sound weird, but Blum swears by it.
One year my aunt made baked mac and cheese in little muffin tins. I thought this was brilliant! The size that would fit into a muffin tin is the right size [portion] of mac and cheese and mashed potatoes.
Rule #7: Don't deep-fry your turkey.
Deep-fried turkey accidents during the holidays occur as often as "The Christmas Story" plays on TV.
Though you might not be eagerly awaiting that fried bird, your family probably has one on the menu.
Your crispy turkey is not only a greasy disaster, but also a health catastrophe. Blum suggests staying far away from it.
The chemical reaction that occurs when you deep fry food is an absolute health disaster in your body. Instead, find an organic turkey that is antibiotic free, focusing on the quality of your foods.
Rule #8: Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint.
It's long-since been thought the tryptophan found in turkey was the main culprit for your post-dinner slumber. However, that's now been debunked.
You're sleepy disposition probably has to do with the fact that you just ate like a starving jungle animal.
In fact, Blum says foods high in carbohydrates force your body into that 3 pm fatigue.
There is a lot going on in your body after you eat a big meal! Prevent drowsiness by eating small frequent servings that will have a better impact on your energy levels. Veggies and healthy fats will help make your energy levels more sustainable, so dive into the crudités and guac!