A Healthier Thanksgiving

It’s easy to overindulge on Thanksgiving since it’s a day focused on eating.  Here are some tips to help you enjoy a healthier holiday. 

1. Don’t Go Hungry.
Many people either eat very little or forgo eating in anticipation of the afternoon feast. Skipping meals leads to overwhelming hunger – the kind where anything and everything looks good. Reaching this level of hunger often causes you to over-serve yourself, eating larger portions than you normally would. Instead of starving yourself, start the day with a fiber-rich breakfast, such as oatmeal or whole grain toast, and add a generous serving of protein, such as eggs or a Greek-style yogurt. The fiber and protein will help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer. 

2. Take 30-60 minutes for a brisk walk or jog before the big meal.
Get a jump on burning those holiday dinner calories by sneaking in some activity during the day. Keeping yourself busy before the main feast can help prevent you from mindlessly nibbling on snacks. 

3. Eat the best and leave the rest!
Don’t waste your calories on foods that you could have anytime of the year. Instead be strategic about your eating by choosing those items that are special to the occasion that you really want to eat. Fill-up on lean cuts of turkey breast and vegetables and only eat those heavier holiday foods that really excite your taste buds.

4. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite.
Thanksgiving is probably one of the few days that we actually take the time to sit down and relax during the meal. Instead of gobbling up your dinner, wait at least 20 minutes before you get a second helping. This is very important since it takes at least this long for your body to register how full it actually is. You may realize after 20 minutes that you don’t want seconds after all. 

5. Give yourself permission to indulge. 
Rather than constantly worrying about how many calories are in the stuffing or pumpkin pie, give yourself permission to enjoy the day. Instead of feeling guilty about your choices, be present in the moment and pay attention to what you’re eating and how full you’re feeling. Eating mindfully makes the meal a more satisfying experience as you fully engage your senses. It allows you to realize when you’re satisfied and stop eating. Being mindful also prevents the meaning of Thanksgiving from getting lost in all that food. 

The important thing to remember is that Thanksgiving comes once a year. Overindulging on one holiday is not a big deal – it’s what you’re doing consistently on the rest of those 364 days that really matter.