Tips and Tricks for A Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time filled with food, fun, family and even a little bit of football. We just have to be careful because the average American gains 2-4 pounds from Thanksgiving to the New Year.

One of the things we should be grateful for all year long is our health, so here are some tips to help you and your family build some new healthy Thanksgiving traditions.

Get moving: Don’t forget to stay active during this Turkey Day.

  • Participate in a Thanksgiving Day run with the family.
  • Go for a walk with your family before or after the meal.
  • Play a little game of tag football. For those that don’t want to play, they can be the cheerleaders.
  • Do an early morning workout to keep you energized throughout the day.
  • Turn on some music and dance around with your family.
  • Use your favorite active gaming system and turn it into some fun family competition.
  • Remember doing something is better than nothing, so instead of a food coma, opt to help cook or clean up after the meal to keep moving.

Include healthy options all day long. Don’t skip meals just because you think you will over indulge during the Thanksgiving meal. We want to keep our metabolism moving. Change up some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions to include more nutrition. Try my recipe for garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes with white beans. Trust me, your family will never know the difference.

Add some color. Whether it be butternut squash soup, a spinach salad or a few different vegetable side dishes, be sure to add some color to your plate. The soup and salad starters will help you get full with nutritious foods to help avoid overeating. Try baked apples or a fruit salad for dessert as an alternative to decadent pies. This will give you some good nutrition with fewer calories. Not to mention, some fiber to keep you full and help you stay regular. Check out our handy guide to a light and colorful Thanksgiving plate here.

Watch those portions. I notice people are trying to eat healthier foods, but their portions are still out of control. So be realistic about how much food you are piling on your plate.

  • Try using a smaller plate. Our stomachs are only about the size of our first. We stretch them out by continuously overeating.
  • Slow down when you eat – it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain, “Stop! I’m full!”
  • Eat veggies first.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Measure your food (or at least estimate with some of these handy tips).

Share why you are thankful. Take some time to actually enjoy your family. Learn about each other by playing a board game or sharing why you are thankful for your health and each other.

Don’t give up. Even if you do overeat a bit on Thanksgiving Day! Don’t let that stop you from doing better the next day. Plan ahead with a Black Friday workout and healthy food choices throughout the weekend and the rest of the holiday season.

How do you stay healthy during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Dianne Rosete via Flickr

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