My grandma used to make everyone go around the room and say what they were thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. I would often say, “the food” or “family.” It was one special day where we got to eat the best food, hang out with family, play games and just relax. In my opinion, enjoying food and family is the purpose of Thanksgiving.


No one wants to think about cutting calories during the holidays, I get it! But think back to a time where you ate too much food for weeks straight, felt miserable, had no energy, fell of the exercise track and felt your pants getting tighter. I have definitely been there before and it’s not a fun memory. Instead of going down that path this year, I have come up with eight ways I will fight that downward spiral.



Like Joey Tribbiani said right before he attempted to eat a whole turkey by himself in a Friends Thanksgiving episode, “Let me explain to you how the human body works.” (30 seconds in)


If you have a balanced breakfast and maybe a healthy snack before you start your thanksgiving feast, you will be less likely to overindulge.


If are bringing something to the Thanksgiving meal, offer to provide the appetizers. Start with a vegetable tray and hummus, fruit with a coconut cool whip dip or make a vegetable soup. If you eat something healthier before dinner, you might end up taking smaller portions for the actual meal.


  1. MOVE

Suggest that your family does a holiday run/walk this year. Schedule an after lunch/dinner family walk or go by yourself if no one else will join. My aunt Cindy used to always do this for our family and it truly does make you feel better after a big meal.


If you have the option, try to fix meals without gluten and dairy. These two ingredients are very inflammatory to the body and are detrimental to your gut health. Gluten and dairy will cause you to feel more fatigued, irritable and stressed. Plus, there are so many good substitutions now. You can find gluten free bread, rolls, bread crumbs, flours, and desserts. For dairy there are nut milks, coconut yogurt, cashew cheese, oils and ghee. I use substitutions with most of my meals and usually people cannot tell the difference. Here is a green bean casserole recipe, written by Mandala’s cofounder Ambreen Khawaja that is absolutely healthy and delicious!


  1. WATER

Don’t skip on the water. Drink more than normal if possible. The more you drink, the less you will eat and the better you will feel.



It looks nice displaying the food out on the dining room table, but this is not the healthiest way to go. According to Dan Buettner, “Blue Zones,” places in the world where people are living the longest, healthiest lives, they preplate their food. This contributes to them eating less at one time. If the food is sitting right in front of you, you will be more tempted to have seconds, than if you have to get up and walk through the line again. Also, I suggest using a smaller plate. Larger plates make serving sizes appear smaller. Chew slowly and wait twenty minutes before getting seconds to make sure you are still in fact hungry.



Get plenty of rest and stick to your exercise routine. Tired people always eat more. Take time to yourself, especially if you get stressed or overwhelmed. A few minutes in room by yourself, to close your eyes and take a few uninterrupted breaths or meditate, can go a long way.


  1. ENJOY

Remember Thanksgiving is meant to be one meal on one day, not a whole month of, “ahhh, screw it!” Eat the foods that aren’t available most times of the year. Slow down and enjoy every bite that you eat and be thankful for the family or friends you have.

If you want to learn more about how to get you and your family on the healthy eating track for, follow us on facebook at Mandala Integrative Medicine and Health Coach Khlo. Also visit our websites at and