6 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Beautiful big family enjoys Thanksgiving dinner together

Thanksgiving is a treasured tradition of gathering with loved ones to indulge in good cheer and good food. But there can be too much of a good thing – especially when it comes to food. Here are six tips to keep you on track for a healthier celebration, wherever you gather.

1. Make a Plan

One of the best ways to ensure good choices at the buffet is to have a plan of action. If you are cooking, use less salt and incorporate low-cholesterol and low-fat recipes or find substitutes that are healthier (like yogurt in place of mayonnaise). Try to eat near a normal mealtime and make sure that you eat a regular breakfast and lunch to prevent overeating at dinner. Consider using a small plate instead of a large one to help control portion size.

2. Taste the Rainbow

Load your plate with the healthier options first such as salad or vegetables, then add modest amounts of the high-carb, high-calorie favorites. A great trick for ensuring a healthier variety: Try to include every color of the rainbow on your plate. Eat slowly and wait before scooping up seconds; it takes at least 20 minutes before your brain knows that your stomach is full.

3. Dive into Water

Beer, wine, and cocktails are often a big part of Thanksgiving. Alcohol consumption can impact cardiovascular health in different ways, depending on your overall health and risk factors for heart disease. Drinking more water is always a good idea. You can add fruit to give it a festive feel or opt for other non-alcoholic drinks like iced tea or seltzer. Plus, drinking low-calorie beverages may lower your overall calorie intake by prevent you from overeating.

4. Get a Move On

It can be tempting to lie on the couch after a big meal to take a nap, but being active can give you a leg up (literally!) in having a healthier holiday. A walk through the neighborhood, a game of touch-football, or even an energetic game of charades can counter the extra calories and the extra stress of the day.

5. Call It a Day

Visiting with loved ones can easily turn into a late night of catching up and talking. Find a point to pause, get to bed, and continue after a good night’s rest. Sleep deprivation can make you eat more, especially high-fat, high-sugar foods. Aim for eight hours of sleep to help avoid mindless eating.

6. Focus on Fun

Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, explaining, “in the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, the American people should take some time for gratitude.” Remember: The day is about more than food. Enjoy the time with family and friends!

Sources: CDC; Verywell Health; Time



Categories: Dining, Nutrition