Unless you’re treating Thanksgiving dinner as a competitive eating contest (and, if you are, more power to you), you would be well to remember that just because there’s likely a metric ton of stuffing, gravy, and pie crammed on your holiday table, you don’t have to eat it all. Another important thing to remember? Breakfast, of course. Because skipping it, according to registered dietician and celebrity nutritionist Ashley Koff, is "a recipe for disaster.” We caught up with Koff and fellow nutritionist Keri Glassman, to address the questions we have of the most overlooked meal on Thanksgiving Day—and how to eat your way to success.
Should I even eat breakfast before Thanksgiving dinner?
The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a resounding “yes!”*
“You want to get your metabolism going and prevent yourself from being ravenous at the dinner table,” Glassman explains. So just because you’re indulging in breakfast doesn’t mean you won’t have room to enjoy cranberry sauce and dinner rolls later. But there’s a caveat.
Just because you’re planning to go to town on some mashed potatoes and gravy doesn’t mean you should pregame with a huge breakfast—especially if it’s sweet, sticky, and loaded with carbs (we’re looking at you, cinnamon rolls). That'll make you feel sluggish in the face of all that cooking, hosting, eating, and cleaning up.
“Stick with whatever your go-to healthy breakfast is,” Glassman says. She recommends something with a kick of protein, like scrambled eggs with tomato, or Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of nuts and some fresh fruit.
OK, but can I still have my morning cup of coffee?
“If you normally have it, then your digestive system is used to the stimulant boost,” Koff says. But avoid loading your coffee with tons of sugar, which will set you up for a crash later. And easy on the amount—anything more than four cups can cause upset stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic. And that’s not exactly something to be thankful for.
For a healthy take, try taking organic oats and adding almond butter and hemp seeds to a shot of espresso. Voila! A nutritionist-approved affogato-like treat.
What does a nutritionist eat before Thanksgiving dinner?
For both Koff and Glassman, the key to a healthy start begins with water with lemon, with a side of probiotics and vitamins. Then, Glassman prefers a slice of sprouted bread topped with a hard-boiled egg, or scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli.
Koff’s is similar. After her water, she’ll work out and have eggs with spinach, avocado, and broccoli, or a smoothie with hemp protein, spinach, almond milk, and some nut butter.
So what’s the takeaway?
Basically, “all things in moderation” is the name of the game. Skipping breakfast will ultimately hurt you in the long run, much like enthusiastically expressing your love of football to your significant other’s uncle when you’ve never watched the sport in your life. So go forth, eat healthily, and enjoy all the bounty Thanksgiving has to offer.