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How to Survive Thanksgiving If You’re Trying to Eat Healthy

If you are on any type of diet, eating plan or you made a lifestyle choice that doesn’t fit mainstream eating, it's pretty much inevitable that someone in your family is going to ask you about it tomorrow

If you are on any type of diet, eating plan or you made a lifestyle choice that doesn’t fit mainstream eating, it's pretty much inevitable that someone in your family is going to ask you about it tomorrow. You may want to talk about it, or you may want to avoid the subject all together. Either way is ok.

But as we know some people may feel guilty that they aren't eating as healthy as you are and tell you it's no big deal to eat XYZ. This is a good opportunity to make them feel more comfortable by saying that this is something that affects your individual body and you don't feel good after eating XYZ. It usually gets people off your back. I have compiled a list of most common things you’ll probably hear tomorrow and what can you say back without causing an unnecessary family drama and without compromising your eating habits.

"Just live a little!”

"Oh just live a little and enjoy" is probably one of the most annoying things someone can say to me! "Live a little?!" That's exactly what I'm trying to do by living this healthy lifestyle! Get out of my face!

What I really say to them: "Oh yes! That looks great! I think I'll have some when I finish this..." Yep, I lie. I'm not going to eat it later, but I will reinforce that it sounds amazing.

"Are you vegan/vegetarian/paleo/have celiac disease?"

Just because I am not stuffing my face with your damn turkey, ham crap, doesn't mean I don't eat meat. Just because I don't happily eat everything doesn't mean I don't enjoy your cooking!

What I really say: "I'm not vegan, I enjoy meat! I already had enough for today, thank you" "Oh I don't have celiac disease, but I don't usually feel that great after eating wheat products, thank you for asking"

If you are vegan and you're not completely supported by your family, this could be a tough one. I suggest NOT going off on a rant to your family about veganism. They've probably heard it already. Just stick to your guns about how you feel amazing when you don't eat animal products. Don't preach and don't think you're going to change any minds during this holiday. Just smile and focus on non-food topics.

Auntie so-and-so, your mother or grandmother insist you have more

Damn it, I'm sorry you derive all your pleasure from watching me eat. Get a dog or something.

What I really say: "Oh my gosh I am so stuffed! That was so delicious! I would eat more but I think I'm going to barf. If you want, I can take some home with me." Cha-ching, you get leftovers and they feel like they have done their job of filling you till you explode.

Saying "No, thank you" is not rude

The host spent a lot of energy on preparing the meal and they are really concerned about everyone enjoying the food and being happy. Declining more food or a certain type of food is not inherently rude. Focus on complimenting the host for putting this together and ask about how they made of one of the dishes.

What I really say: "Oh no thank you, that looks great! I think you really have outdone yourself! Can you tell me how you made it?" Shift focus away from yourself, and on to them.

B.Y.O. Anything and everything

I always bring a few extra vegetable dishes and a naturally sweet dessert so that I can feel like I'm having a balanced meal. This is also a great opportunity to showcase healthy food that tastes good.

I've learned not to tell anyone something is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or "healthy" until after people have had a taste. (Of course, it's good to know if anyone has any food allergies before you let someone eat your dish.)

One time I brought a homemade vegan gluten-free pumpkin pie to an event and no one wanted to try it. The pie was delicious and tasted pretty much the same as the other pies, but people associated the ingredients with food that doesn't taste good. Eventually, they warmed up to it and some people even asked me for the recipe.

Take dessert home

The number one culprit for weight gain during this holiday is the excess sugar. For some reason there is always way too many desserts at a party. Dessert is great, but it's going to be really hard to digest after eating all of that other wonderful food. You can take it home and eat it in a few days as a dessert meal.

Lucy Chen is a Bushwick-based holistic health coach. Head over to her website to find out more and book a complimentary session here.

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