As Thanksgiving quickly approaches I’ve been getting distressed emails from friends on how to handle the holiday — How are they going to handle all the sweets, all the family (and friends), all the pressure, all the carbs!!

I thought I’d share a few ideas on how to stay on track with your low-carb, ketogenic, eating style with all these temptations.

         1. Don’t stress and enjoy the time with friends and family. 

Cortisol is just as bad for your weight-loss journey as insulin. My philosophy about this keto lifestyle is that I can eat ANYTHING, but I can’t eat unlimited amounts of it and go over my carb goal for the day.

        2. Offer to bring side-dishes that are low-carb, delicious, and will tempt everyone else.

A few favorite recipes that I’ll be bringing to my family gatherings are:

Roasted Brussels with Bacon (and more bacon) – Just those 2 ingredients! — or try these Au Gratin Style Brussel Sprouts (5 net carbs)

Green Bean Fries –  Just 5 ingredients

Creamy Pumpkin Soup – 6 net carbs!

Roasted Cauliflower Mash with Rosemary

Creamed Spinach (How to Video)

Almond Flour (Cheesy) Biscuits

        3. Add bacon and butter

You can eat what is already been prepared, just bump up the fat content. Add bacon bits, add melted butter, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil or avocado to side-dishes and salads. Believe me, you will start a trend around the table with the bacon bits! I love to grab a bag of bacon bits at Costco… this way there will be enough for everyone.

        4. Stay hydrated and add extra salt to everything.

I have found that I have less control when I am thirsty and when my electrolytes are out of balance. Try increasing your water intake, and reducing your caffeine intake, for a few days before Thanksgiving. Add essential oils or flavored stevia drops to your water to encourage more. Try sipping on herbal teas (which don’t have caffeine) throughout the day.

        5. Extended Fast before (or after) the big meal

As you probably know, the ketogenic diet was used to treat seizures because it was discovered that when followed carefully it causes the body to bio-chemically mimic the effects of fasting; but without skipping meals. So you can use extended fasting (starting at 16 hours and up to 24 hours) as a strategy to get your body back into ketosis or to burn off some extra sugar you might have consumed over the holiday. There are some great videos on this topic, the most important thing I have found to successful fasting is staying busy (which won’t be hard if you like to experience Black Friday Shopping craziness) and stay hydrated. Try a bullet-proof coffee in the morning before you head out for the day (this isn’t breaking your fast) and trust me, you’ll be able to go shopping all day and won’t feel hungry at all!

        6. Indulge and Explore

Go ahead and allow yourself to experiment using some no-sugar sweeteners. If you haven’t tried monk fruit sweetener, stevia or xylitol yet, find a great recipe — like these mini-size pumpkin cheesecakes or pumpkin fat-bomb rolls  — and trick your taste buds and still keep your fat-burning state intact.

        7. Net Carbs instead of Total Carbs

If you are typically watching your total carbs (for example 20 grams a day), then just for Thanksgiving allow your self to go for “net carbs” where you deduct fiber and sugar alcohols from your total carbs for the day. For example: 1 serving of the Au Gratin Brussel Sprouts I mentioned above have 7.5 grams of total carbs which includes 2 grams of fiber, so the net carbs is just 5.5 grams of carbs. By using net carbs you will be able to eat more on Thanksgiving without having a huge effect on your blood sugar or level of ketosis.

If you are typically tracking your net-carbs, then you can instead switch to total-carbs for the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend and counter-balance any extra carbs you may have eaten earlier in the week. Total carbs, instead of net-carbs, is the equivalent of extra-strength keto dieting and can help you get back on track.

Here are a few more websites that will give you endless ideas for things to make throughout the holidays (and year-round):