Dietician shares how to have a guilt-free Thanksgiving

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Though Thanksgiving often means an overabundance of food, it’s not impossible to find balance and end the day without an extra serving of guilt.

Jessi Holden is a registered dietician at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and recently shared a TikTok video on the subject of Thanksgiving and how best to enjoy the meal. Her first advice for holidays — or any day — is to give yourself unconditional permission to enjoy food.

“It’s not about earning your food, burning it off, or feeling like you have to gorge yourself because you’re going to start over tomorrow. That cycle is just so damaging,” Holden said.

She suggests going into the holiday with the idea that, “I’m going to enjoy my food today, I’m going to taste my food today.”

As far as pressure to try everything that someone else prepares, Holden said you don’t need to make somebody else happy by eating their food.

“If you’ve got one of those major food pushers in your family, I encourage you to say, ‘no thank you’ or, if you’re full, say you’re full and will take some to go, and then it’s your choice what you do with it from there,” she said. “If you want pie, mashed potatoes and turkey for your first plate, then that’s what goes on your plate.”

Holden explains on her website and blog that she has worked on her own relationship with food over the years, and believes one thing that everyone can benefit from understanding is that food has no moral value.

“It’s not good for you or bad for you,” Holden said. “A lot of people will ask, ‘what does that mean?’ Although some foods do more for our bodies than others, it’s not to say that one is ‘better’ than the other because that places a moral value on food, which then, you only judge yourself if you eat good or eat bad.”

She recommends we eat normally in the days leading up to a holiday, and don’t put any “should” or “should nots” on the table when it comes to our food.

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