“Their god is Their Stomach” a Practical Guide to Thanksgiving Eating


Sorry, but what better verse for the holiday season than this?

“whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things”  (Philippians 3:19)

Last week I discussed the challenging Spiritual and mental aspects of facing Thanksgiving. Now it’s time to overcome that physical gluttony that comes along with it.

It is common knowledge that between Halloween and New Year’s most people gain ten pounds. Now string that out to the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, not to mention the play-off games and we pile on additional poundage! Thinking back in spring, when one’s clothes don’t fit anymore, it’s one of those “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments.

When is enough, enough? Why do our good intentions go by the wayside as we lose control at Thanksgiving, gorging ourselves on sweet potato casserole and pecan pie? Thanksgiving leftovers are great!

But realize this day you’ll automatically consume more than usual. Today is special. What can someone eat and not feel deprived?  It’s all about choices.

First consume nutrients.

Turkey is a lean protein with approximately 340 calories for 6 ounces. Formed with B vitamins and an enormous amount of minerals including selenium. Turkey makes us happier. Cut a serving into small pieces, eat slowly and enjoy!

Want stuffing or mashed potatoes and gravy? Enjoy smaller portions: 1/4 cup of stuffing is 90 calories, 1/4 cup mashed potatoes is 75, a  drizzle of gravy over both is about 65. A 1/8 cup of sweet potatoes (without tons of brown sugar and marshmallows) are 40.

Your plate is already getting full!

Now you need veggies. Select broccoli or green beans (not the 225 calorie casserole!) at 25 calories per 1/2 cup or an entire 1 1/2 cup of garden salad at 50 calories and a drizzle of  1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar with herbs at 60 calories.

Cranberry sauce is surprisingly high in calories. A sliver,  1/4 inch thick has 100 calories. Your choice: Is it worth it or would you rather have dessert? You’re in control of your decisions. Feel empowered yet?

A dinner roll has 110 calories, but sop up the gravy instead of buttering it, and you’ll save 60 calories towards dessert. Again consciously make the choice, “this or that.”

Without dessert, the caloric count above could total 1,000 calories, depending on your choices and drink selections.  Don’t be discouraged. Normally one would consume 1200 to 2,000 calories daily depending on their weight or whether they are cutting down purposely for health reasons.  It’s a special day. What God doesn’t want to see is you losing control!

Now there are several incorporating factors that can instill discipline on Thanksgiving.

  1.  “Smoosh” out your selections so mentally it seems as if there’s more on your plate than you really have and no one will ask, “Is that all you’re eating?”
  2. Previously find a measuring cup and visualize sizes before spooning out selections.
  3. Make this holiday a social occasion and not an eating occasion. Enjoy fellowship and stretch out the meal. It takes twenty minutes for one’s brain to recognize it’s full.
  4. Sit with your back to the food if your family serves buffet style or when done, remove your plate (or yourself) so you aren’t tempted.
  5. Drink only water with lemon with your meal and save even more calories! A 5 ounce glass of red wine is 120 calories.
  6. Take a walk after dinner. The fresh air will invigorate you and burn calories.

Wait to eat dessert.  Choose pumpkin pie over apple today. A 1/8 serving of apple pie is about 410 calories, pumpkin is 180 and with a dab or whipped cream increases 65 calories.

Enjoy family, don’t stress and please count your blessings!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



11 thoughts on ““Their god is Their Stomach” a Practical Guide to Thanksgiving Eating

  1. Some good thoughts. I consider Thanksgiving as the most authentic Christian holiday. In it we are to give thanks to God. How strange to give thanks to God on one hand and sin in the other by gorging ourselves and committing the sin of gluttony. One way we can give thanks is by moderation and balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve learned to omit certain foods from the holiday plate because for me personally they are a waste of calories if you are limited. I skip the dinner rolls, canned cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. This leaves room for foods with more nutrition. I also skip the pre-meal snacks that people love to serve like chips, spinach dip with bread, juice and pop, those sorts of things.
    Sooo many choices during the holidays, but I’ve never felt deprived. Thanks for all your excellent tips.

    Liked by 1 person

      • So glad to hear Ellie. And about sensible, I’m no so sure lol. Sure Thanksgiving is a lot of preparation, only a month away from Christmas, but I think it enhances the holiday feel. Well, maybe because I’m not cooking the turkeys, lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good ideas Ellie- especially the point about the festivities being about enjoying the company and not about the food. The main thing is to be focussed and to concentrate on our goals and not on the food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really enjoy reading your comments Susie, they are so insightful! Yes, you are so right, it is important to understand that food is for nourishment, enjoyment, comfort and vibrant health.

      When a person eats to mask feelings, it creates a problem that some ignore. Root out the “why” a person eats/self-destructs and they can begin to overcome challenges – but they must WANT to change and that’s why being a nutritional counselor is so interesting. Appreciate your wisdom Susie, blessings,


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