How to have a Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but this year with COVID-19, celebrations may look slightly different. Now more than ever our health and happiness is imperative, and the last thing we need is the added stress that often comes along with this holiday. Honestly, Thanksgiving used to stress me out too. I would save up all day for the big meal, overeat and then feel awful, physically and emotionally. For a healthy mind and body, here are some tips to get you through the holiday feeling great!

  1. Get in a Good Morning Workout: If a workout makes you feel good on a regular day why not do this on Thanksgiving day as well? If you have the time, get your heart racing early with a good cardio workout. Your metabolism will get fired up, and you’ll torch some calories. 
  2. Make Sure To Eat Breakfast:  Just because it’s Thanksgiving, you should not skip breakfast in attempts to save your calories for the Thanksgiving meal. Skipping breakfast will cause you to be hungrier later on, making you more likely to overindulge. Eat a good, fiber and protein-rich breakfast to get your metabolism started early and keep you feeling satisfied. Bonus points for making a healthy breakfast for the friends and family you may be celebrating with!
  3. Don’t Snack As You Cook:  If you’re hosting a small, COVID-safe gathering this Thanksgiving, you are likely to be spending hours in the kitchen. But, be careful not to pick at the food you’re preparing, as those extra calories can add up. People often underestimate how much they are actually eating when they pick at the food as they make it. If you need a little something before your Thanksgiving appetizers and main meal, snack on raw veggies to fill up on fiber. 
  4. Homemade is Better Than Packaged: Due to the current pandemic, you may be purchasing more canned foods than usual. If you are preparing your fest with canned foods, make sure to read their nutrition labels. Canned foods often contain a lot of sugar, sodium, and preservatives, so if possible, opt for low sodium options with no added sugars and minimal ingredients. Otherwise, stick to homemade sides- your waist (and taste buds) will thank you!
  5. Drink Water and Go Light on Alcohol! Filling up on water can prevent dehydration (which is a must if you plan to travel on an airplane this holiday), and can also prevent overeating.  If you have a tendency to indulge on alcohol, alternate each drink with a glass of water to cut back on calories. For alcohol, try to choose mixers like sparkling water/seltzer, lemon or lime.
  6. Don’t Crowd Your Plate:  When it’s time to eat, go easy on the portions. Stick to 2-3 of your favorite sides, as you’ll be less likely to overeat when there is less variety. If you are still hungry, you can always go up for more.
  7. Eat Slowly: Eating slower not only gives you more time to savor and enjoy your food, but you will actually end up eating less because you’ll feel fuller sooner.
  8. Avoid The Skin:  Avoid the skin on the turkey as it is loaded with fat and calories. Choose condiments, like mustard or hot sauce, so give your turkey some extra flavor if needed.
  9. Be Thankful For Family: Thanksgiving is about being thankful. Rather than making the food be the focus of the day, focus on being grateful for you and your family, friends, and loved ones. Whether you’re celebrating virtually or with members of your own household, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.
  10. Be Realistic: Everyone deserves to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day full of the comforts of good food and loved ones. Don’t deprive yourself, but just make sure to be smart about the choices you make.