Life, Nutrition

How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

It’s here–well, it’s been here for a while, if you pay attention to retail–the holiday season! It’s a time when all the goodies and treats are plentiful and the atmosphere is light. If you’re not careful, you overdo it, only to recommit to a crazy diet and dry January right afterwards! But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

You don’t have to go off the rails to enjoy your holiday season. Let’s take Thanksgiving, for example. It’s one day but it’s a big day when it comes to all the calories. Still, it’s possible to indulge without blowing your whole nutrition plan. Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Eat a very light breakfast. Knowing that you are going to have a huge meal later in the day, plan to eat a lighter breakfast. A high protein meal is best. Think protein shake or smoothie, bacon and eggs, or Greek yogurt parfait. You just need something to break the fast of the night and to get your metabolism going. The protein will help satiate you so you aren’t starving by the time dinner rolls around.
  2. Exercise. Today is a good day to burn some calories to make room for your big meal. A long walk, resistance training, or even a Turkey Trot are all great options. Get up and get going!
  3. Choose healthy appetizers. If your host is serving appetizers prior to the main meal, choose wisely. Typically you will find vegetable trays or olives. If there is cheese and crackers, limit yourself to a little bit. Don’t go overboard! Maybe fill one plate and call it quits. 
  4. Drink responsibly. If alcohol is being served, go easy. Try to limit yourself to only a drink or two. If there is seltzer, choose that. The bubbly not only will settle your stomach, but also will help you feel fuller, limiting the amount of food you eat. If you must drink, make sure you hydrate. A good rule of thumb is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
  5. Pay attention to your plate. During meal time, choose your food wisely. Typically you will see vegetables or even cranberry sauce on the menu. These are healthy (well the sauce might have sugar in it but mostly healthy)! And you don’t need to put piles of mashed potatoes on your plate. A fist-sized portion is plenty! Choose your serving sizes carefully. You should be able to fit your food on your plate without it looking like a mountain of food! You can always have leftovers later!
  6. Time for dessert. It would not be Thanksgiving without pies. Have a small slice and hold the whipped cream, if you’re worried about the calories. Or choose a lighter dessert, if one is available. Typically your most calorie dense pies are pumpkin or pecan, while apple pie is a little lighter on calories. All are heavy on sugar so keep that in mind!
  7. Go easy the next day. Given all that you ate during Thanksgiving, go easy on yourself the next day or weekend following. Eat lighter than you normally would. Go for a long walk or do what we do and put your holiday decorations up. That burns some serious calories!

Some or all of these tips can help you enjoy your Thanksgiving without feeling like it’s the beginning of the end when it comes to your health and fitness! Happy Thanksgiving!



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