20 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year so why not indulge? Because chances are with Christmas right around the corner, that holiDAY could very easily turn into a holiMONTH! Packing on the pounds during the holiday season can happen quicker and easier than you think. And often times that added weight stays with us for good. Don't let that happen again this year. Your best defense against holiday weight gain is a good offence. Here are some tips to help you satisfy your need for the traditional holiday favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast.


1. Get Active 

Start exercising a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving to get off to a good start by creating a good habit. Spending just 30 minutes a day, every day, for a couple of weeks will boost your metabolism and your mood, and prepare your body to work off those excess calories. Plus, making a habit of fitness early means you more likely be motivated to get back into your routine on black Friday and keep the fitness trend going all season long.

2. Eat Breakfast

Start your day off with some protein and fiber within an hour of waking can give you more control over your diet the rest of the day. Start smart with 2 eggs and a slice of whole grain toast, or a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit and you won't feel starved by the time you sit down to a holiday meal.

3. Lighten Up

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. For example:

  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
  • Use honey, real maple syrup or stevia in place of sugar and/or applesauce instead of oil in baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
  • Substitute non-fat Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

4. Exercise portion control

Fill your plate with small portions of your holiday favorites. Don't skip the vegetables and salad to make more room for more stuffing! If you keep your portions small you can enjoy a little of everything.

5. Skip the seconds

Resist the temptation to go back for seconds. Instead, enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

6. Choose wisely

Know that some foods make better choices than others. White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to have less fat and calories and are better options.

7. Pace yourself

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

8. Easy on the alcohol

Those calories in wine and alcohol add up quickly. So have a glass of water in between drinks or mix alcohol with more tonic or club soda than usual to keep yourself hydrated and sober.

9. Be social

Walk around and talk to family and friends rather than sitting at the table the entire time. The more time you spend talking the less likely your mind will be on food.

10. Walk it off

Weather permitting, plan a post meal walk. Ask family members to join you. Take a camera or smartphone with you and make it even more fun by taking some photos. This could be a great opportunity to get some shots for this year's Christmas card.

11. Accountability Partners

Ask family members and friends to join you on black Friday for an exercise class, or use a fitness tracker like Fitbit or an app like My Fitness Pal and schedule a 24 hour challenge. As an added incentive, ask everyone who joins the challenge to pitch in a couple of bucks or a small prize for the winner.

12. Volunteer to help clean up

Not only will this make you shine in the eyes of the host, but physically removing yourself from the table after the meal will keep your mind off of food for a while.

13. Position yourself

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to gather around the kitchen when there's a party? Start a new trend and position yourself away from the food when you're not eating dinner. Ask family members to join you by the fireplace or in the living room. Moving yourself away from food keeps it off your mind.

14. Stay hydrated

Make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Often times hunger pangs are actually thirst in diguise.

15. Go easy on the apps

Cheese, dips, crackers and chips are loaded with calories! Save your appetite, and calorie consumption, for dinner.

16. Dim the lights

Studies show that dimming the lights may lead to consuming less food. So create a nice intimate ambiance that everyone will love.

17. Watch out for sneaky sides

Beware of side dishes that aren't as healthy as they appear. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce can be loaded with fat, calories and sugar.

18. Say yes to dessert

The holidays shouldn't be a time to deprive yourself of anything. Enjoy a slice of pie for dessert. You can and should enjoy everything - in moderation.

19. Write it down

If it helps, keep a food journal or use an app like My Fitness Pal to track your food intake over the holidays. Set a healthy and realistic limit to the number of calories you plan to consume and stick to it.

20. Get enough sleep

Make sure you get 8-10 hours of sleep the night before Thanksgiving. Not getting enough sleep can increase your appetite the following day.


 Join us and keep your Thanksgiving holiday healthy and hassle-free in our Healthy Holiday Challenge. This 30-day...
Posted by Happy, Healthy, Smart - by Brenda Ajay on Sunday, October 25, 2015

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