Five Ways to Feel Balanced This Thanksgiving with Registered Dietitian – Model Meals National

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Five Ways to Feel Balanced This Thanksgiving with Registered Dietitian Marissa Thiry

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Five Tips for Staying Balanced During the Holidays



Marissa Thiry, RDN

Marissa is a registered dietitian and founder of New Kid on the Guac. She became interested in nutrition at 15 while training her first half marathon, realizing quickly the role nutrition and proper fueling played in her athletic performance. Since then, she has worked in various nutrition roles, including clinical research, healthcare, nutrition communications, and now works in the food industry. When she's not working, she can be found cooking up a storm in the kitchen, running at the beach, snowboarding in the mountains, or scanning flights for her next international adventure.

Marissa is sharing with us her 5 best strategies to feeling balanced during the holidays when it comes to food and movement!

There’s no denying that the holidays are a time of indulgence. It’s a season spent enjoying time with family and friends, and likely involves a second helping of dessert and lots and lots of leftovers. These festivities all kickstart with Thanksgiving. It’s like an annual “ready, set, go” to a few months of massive amounts of eating and likely, not a lot of restraint. I’ve never been one to approach Thanksgiving with a calorie goal in mind, but there are a few helpful tips that I use to keep my holiday season in check so I can enjoy it without a stomach ache or any added stress.


So many people approach Thanksgiving or other big holidays by skipping breakfast in order to hold out for the larger meal of the day. Folks, that’s the wrong approach! Eating a balanced breakfast, including protein such as eggs, helps curb your appetite and keep you fuller, longer, which may actually prevent you from overeating at dinner. Plus, it kick starts your metabolism for the day. When you skip meals, your body goes into “starvation mode” and then when you finally do sit down to eat, it will assume that you won’t feed it again for a long time and will hold onto that food longer, instead of metabolizing it. 



One of my favorite things about this time of year is the holiday-themed exercises that go along with it. Whether you run a turkey trot or organize a pick-up game of flag football with friends, try to squeeze in a little fitness before sitting down to feast. If the weather is rotten, consider doing a holiday sweat sesh at the local cycle studio, dressed to the nines in turkey attire.  For those of you on kitchen duty, take breaks to watch the parade in between stuffing the turkey and mashing the potatoes with the fun Thanksgiving Parade Fitness Challenge below. Just something to get your body moving in the morning and work up an appetite before the big meal! 

Thanksgiving Parade Fitness Challenge

*Complete the following activity when you see:

New Balloon or Float: 10 Jumping Jacks

Marching Band: 20 Mountain Climbers 

Santa Hat: 10 Push Ups

Musical Performance: 10 Squats



Model Meals Thanksgiving

It’s pretty unavoidable that at some point throughout the holiday season, you’ll be eating at someone else’s home. For some people, the idea can be stress-inducing to the core. Nothing is worse than having to tell your in-laws you’ll need your own gluten-free stuffing at Thanksgiving. 

Whether you’re supposed to be on kitchen duty or not, offer to bring a dish. You’ll get brownie points with friends and family for not showing up empty handed, and you get the opportunity to bring something that you will feel good about eating (and that fits within your diet and lifestyle preferences). No skills in the kitchen? No problem. Order from Model Meals Thanksgiving Menu. From Sweet Potato Mash with Pecan Crumble to Bacon and Brussels Sprouts, the dishes are sure to be a hit with a crowd and they will be none the wiser about how the dishes were made. Trust me, it will be our little secret. 



This one is a newer challenge I developed last year, and personally, it’s one of my favorites. In my family, we always snack on appetizers throughout the day and then sit down to dinner around 4 or 5 pm. I found last year that the appetizers were always the same: cheese and crackers, trail mix, potato chips… they really didn’t excite me and didn’t represent any of the seasonal dishes I was craving at the moment, and certainly weren’t nurturing me at all. So I decided to shift appetizers to plant-based, to incorporate more seasonal foods – plus the fiber helps fill you up so you are less likely to over-indulge when you sit down to dinner. Last year I put together the adorable fruit turkey pictured below, and got a total kick out of watching the kiddos enjoy the design! It’s also a great time to try a new cooking experiment, because if it tanks – at least it was only the appetizer, right? 

Fruit Salad Turkey

We hope these tips keep you feeling balanced and ready to tackle the holidays with confidence and ease!

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