Your Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

Your Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

We consulted dietitians, nutritionists and doctors to get the scoop on Thanksgiving recovery. These are the things you should do on Thanksgiving and the day after to recover the right way.

Your Thanksgiving Recovery Plan

We consulted dietitians, nutritionists and doctors to get the scoop on Thanksgiving recovery. These are the things you should do on Thanksgiving and the day after to recover the right way.

The Day of Thanksgiving

Here’s what to do on Thanksgiving Day to avoid the holiday hangover. 

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

“Trying to undo thanksgiving is going to be a whole lot harder than keeping the holiday under control,” said Shaina Simhaee, a holistic nutritionist and editor of “I advise my clients to eat a balanced breakfast the day of the holiday. Even though most Thanksgiving dinners start in the earlier part of the day, getting your breakfast in can be a huge calorie saver. By eating a solid breakfast you curb your hunger and won’t wind up overeating during the holiday meal.”

Taste Everything, but Be Mindful of Serving Size

“When it’s time for the thanksgiving meal, taste everything that looks appealing to you. I always advise against deprivation because it leads to binging later. It is, after all, thanksgiving,” Simhaee said. “But, you don’t actually need to make a whole plate of stuffing and brisket. Have a little bit, but reserve the majority of your plate for the veggies. One of the best and healthiest parts of thanksgiving are all the wonderful veggie sides. Reverse the food groups, fill up on the healthier veggie sides and treat the more decadent food choices as the side dish. Its a win-win. You get to eat everything, without sacrificing your waist line.”

Sip Smart

“Avoid alcohol if possible. Alcohol can hinder willpower and makes it much easier to eat too much or not make the right choices,” said Cheryl Forberg, RD, the chef and nutritionist for TV’s The Biggest Loser and author of A Small Guide to Losing Big. “Drink ice water or a spritzer with club soda and lime. If you must imbibe, drink wine or champagne. A four-ounce glass of wine has approximately 100 calories.”

Bring a Healthy Dish

“Stack the deck with healthful options,” Forberg said. “When the situation is potluck, as it often is, deliver in your favor with nutritious and delicious dishes.”

The Day After Thanksgiving

Here’s what to do the day after in order to start feeling better fast.

Don’t Stress About Overeating

“Just because you went overboard one day doesn't mean that it has to be a downward spiral for the next couple of months,” said Rene Ficek is a Registered Dietitian who is also the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating (SSHE). “In fact, beating yourself up over it does more harm than good. When you turn on yourself, it's not the food, it's you that you're battling. Admit you overdid it and be honest, but recognize that you're human.”

Get Some Sleep

“Aim for at least seven hours of sleep,” Ficek said. “Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after overeating. It helps to reset the system and well rested individuals are more likely to choose healthier foods as well as more likely to exercise.”

Eat Breakfast

“Skipping breakfast to cut calories just doesn't work. Research shows us that skipping breakfast translates to overeating later in the day,” Ficek said. “So eat a sensible breakfast the next day balanced with lean proteins and healthy fiber.”

Drink Lots of Water

“Often times when we think we are hungry, we are just a little dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water and then waiting about 10 minutes to determine if you are truly hungry can be quite helpful as it's easy to mistake hunger for thirst,” Ficek said. “If you are still hungry, have a small snack. Research has shown that eating regular meals or snacks every three to four hours can keep you from overeating. Plus, drinking lots of water after a day of high sodium foods can really help balance out the next day bloat.”

Schedule a Workout

“If you schedule a physical activity (besides shopping) for Friday, you may instinctively pare down what you eat on Thursday so you’re not feeling like a load [the next day],” said Bert Herring, MD, author of AC: The Power of Appetite Correction. “Schedule a workout, run, bike ride or a touch football game on Friday.”

Ditch the Leftovers

“This can cause you to over consume extra calories because you don’t want to waste it. Often it’s more about what we do after our holiday that can set up us for that post-holiday bulge,” said Ashvini Mashru, MA, RD, LDN, an award winning registered dietitian and owner of Wellness Nutrition Concepts. “Portion the leftovers out, take leftovers to work, social events, to your neighbors, homeless shelters, care homes or just try and make sure you don’t make too much food (if possible).”

Get Back on Track Immediately

“For some people, Thanksgiving is just the beginning of a six-week-long holiday eating and drinking spree,” Mashru said. “Don’t wait until Monday morning to make healthy changes; you’ll want to prevent bad habits from forming before they snowball out of control.”