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Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

person holding knife and fork cutting slice of pie on brown wooden table

It’s that time again for the Big Turkey Day where everyone goes ahead and splurges, seeing it only comes around once a year. Besides being safe during the pandemic, everyone’s number thought each year is fear of gaining weight during the holiday season. It is something that is always dreaded and expected during this time of the year. Each year, most people will pack on to 1-3 lb during the holidays that stay on permanently. (1)

Here is the Good NEWS! Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight or derail your healthy lifestyle. You can make a few tweaks and adjustments to the day where you can enjoy your traditional favorites guilt-free and finally enjoy your Thanksgiving without obsessing. View the helpful tips below so you can enjoy your Holiday and not have any regrets.

Stay Active. Make sure you are active on Turkey Day. Go for a walk or fit in a workout during the day of and try to stay active throughout the week.

Don’t Skip Breakfast. I know you think if I don’t eat before my Thanksgiving mealtime, I will not go overboard and save calories. You might think that makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, but research has shown that eating a small meal in the morning or before your Thanksgiving meal can give you more control over your appetite, not to mention it helps you make better choices since you will not be starved and hangry. Start your day with a healthy, nutritious, balanced meal with protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats to keep you satisfied before the Holiday gathering (1)(2)

Plan Ahead. Planning is the key to any success, so planning ahead before the big event will save you in the long run. If you cook the Thanksgiving meal or bring a few side dishes, try to replace your recipes with healthier swaps that reduce the fat, sugar and save on calories. You will notice that most desserts and some side dishes have way more sugar and fat than is needed. If you reduce it, no one will notice the difference, and you will be reducing the calories in the long run.

If you are making sweet potato casserole, reduce the amount of sugar in the sweet potato filling. The sweet potatoes already have a natural sweetness, and you will be putting a sugary topping on top, so really no reason to pile it on in the filling. Try using fat-free chicken or vegetable broth to baste the turkey, make gravy, and on sautéing. Reduce the amount of butter you add as well. You can also try plain yogurt in creamy dips and casseroles.

Don’t Get Overstuffed-Thanksgiving tables are filled with an abundant amount of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate sky high, make sure to survey everything and decide what you’re going to choose. When you are ready, do not go overboard on the portion sizes. Add reasonable-sized portions of your favorite foods. Let’s leave being stuffed to the turkey!

Enjoy the meal, but make sure you are eating slowing and savoring every bite. There’s a way to savor it and not overdo it. Doing this will help you not get overstuffed as if you were eating too fast.

Don’t go for Seconds. I know this will be hard, but try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Don’t worry; I am not saying you can not enjoy your favorite delicious foods. This is a great way to pack up all your favorite family comfort foods to enjoy the next day. Leftovers are just as good or better the next day. Also, if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overdo it and have more room for a few bites of some dessert to enjoy.

Healthier Holiday choices are white meat turkey (baked/roasted), snack on veggies or fruit, choose plain or roasted veggies, roasted or baked sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (watch the gravy), and pumpkin pie.

Go Easy on Alcohol. It is easy to drink up calories in no time quickly. Don’t forget those calories in alcohol can add up. Have a glass of wine or watch the amount of mixer if having a cocktail. In between alcoholic drinks, enjoy the water or sparkling water if you want the carbonation. That way, you are staying hydrated also.

Set Realistic Goals. Don’t go thinking you will be perfect and not enjoy some family favorites. The holiday season is a time for celebration. So enjoy yourself and time with family. That is what it is all about, spending quality time with family or friends and not obsessing on what is on the table.

Try not to beat yourself up if you overdid it. Just get right back to your usual healthy eating and active routine. You’ve got this!

If you need help with healthy eating and incorporating a healthier lifestyle, I can HELP! Contact me TODAY to find out how I can help you become a better and healthier version of YOU!

Published by Erin Wheless

I am a passionate Health and Fitness Professional who thrives on helping and motivating others into a healthier way of life, improving their quality of life being in a more Zen state of mind, along with helping them obtaining a stronger body and mind. I want to help them be the best version of themselves and want to help make a difference one small step at a time.

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