Seasonal Diet Tips

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15 Ways to Stay Healthy This Thanksgiving

Don't let the stress leading up to the holidays get you down! Stay happy and healthy with these 15 Thanksgiving tips!


How to Stay Healthy and Happy On Thanksgiving

1. Wake Up Thankful
Each awakening morning, we are granted the opportunity to have a great day and live in the moment. So before allowing your mind to jump to a busy to-do list, wake up thankful and ready to spend it with good food and even better company.

2. Eat in The Morning
Rather than skipping over meals until the main Thanksgiving course, start the day with a high-protein breakfast. Doing so fuels the body with the energy it needs to tackle your to-do list and paves the way for healthy choices throughout the day's entirety.

3. Keep Active
Along with nourishing the body with valuable nutrients, give it the opportunity to keep active. Exercise counteracts some of the extra calories you may be taking in later and keeps you energized and focused to enjoy the Thanksgiving activities with a positive mindset. Start the day with a walk, run, or weight session, along with gathering the family for a Thanksgiving hike or game of flag football.

4. Divide and Conquer
Instead of allowing your Thanksgiving to-do list to stress you out, divide and conquer! Along with meal prepping the night prior, delegate chores and tasks to your spouse, kids, or other friends and family members willing to chip in.

5. Take Advantage of Nutritious Foods
Though holiday feasts may seem like a green light to poorer choices, take advantage of all the nutritious foods on the Thanksgiving table. Fill your plate with protein-packed turkey, along with nutrient-rich, in-season fall produce, including squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, and sweet potatoes. And while the all sweet treats should be moderated, fruit-based pies pack more nutrients than other empty-calorie desserts such as cakes and cookies.

6. Watch Portions
Do not let the temptation of buttery mashed potatoes and sugary pecan pie overtake your plate. Like any other day, watch portions and stick to the concept of moderation. (Even if it is a fruit-based pie...)

7. Savor the Flavor
Some of the offered foods are only available at Thanksgiving, so savor the flavor of your favorites. Eat slowly, put your fork down between bites, and really savor each mouthful to naturally keep calories minimized with the joy of Thanksgiving maximized.

8. Question Seconds
Even after savoring the flavor and watching portions, you may find yourself wanting to go in for another round. But before doing so, wait at least 20 minutes for you brain and belly to communicate just how hungry you truly are. If you still feel hungry after waiting, repeat the concepts of eating nutritious foods, watching portions, and savoring the flavor.

9. Keep Hydrated
Keeping hydrated can boost energy levels and improve post-Thanksgiving digestion, while sipping on water before and during the main course can subside feelings of hunger. While a glass of wine or beer can certainly be enjoyed, do not discount the general recommendation of drinking at least eight, 8-ounce cups of water throughout the day.

10. Propose A Family Activity
Extend family bonding beyond the dinner table this Thanksgiving! Propose a family activity you can all do together, including a scavenger hunt, friendly kickball game, or dance party.

11. Remember to Breathe
With so much going on throughout the day, it is easy to get caught up in stress. But remember to breathe and grant yourself a sense of calm, as doing so can help separate anxiety and relink you to holiday joy.

12. Disconnect from Social Media
Truly enjoy the ambience of Thanksgiving by disconnecting from social media. So rather than being distracted on your phone, live in real time with family and friends.

13. Plan for Leisure
Following a productive Thanksgiving, it is okay to want to unwind. Plan for a leisure activity you enjoy relaxing to, including taking a warm bath or cozying up to a good book by the fire.

14. Know Yourself
Use how well you know yourself to your advantage, identifying weaknesses and creating a plan. For instance, if you know that sweet potato pie is your biggest weakness, tell yourself "I will allow myself a small piece after dinner" then position yourself away from it to lessen its temptation.

15. Ease Up On Standards
At the end of the day, Thanksgiving should be enjoyed with loved ones. So ease up on strict standards and enjoy good food with even better company!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 14, 2017. Updated on October 22, 2019.


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