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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Healy

9 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is officially among us, and as we're grocery shopping, cooking, and gathering together (virtually and in-person) with our families, I wanted to share a few ways you can stay on top of your health goals while also enjoying this special holiday...

9 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving:

1. Get Active

Get outside for a walk early in the day and then again after dinner with the family. It is the perfect way to get moving while spending time with your loved ones! If the weather is iffy, try a fun Thanksgiving-themed yoga class online or do a few jump squats while your turkey is roasting.

2. Eat Breakfast

While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, eating even just a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite later. Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast -- such as a green smoothie or an egg with a slice of avocado toast. This will keep you from starving by the time you arrive at your Thanksgiving meal!

3. Healthy Swaps

Swap out traditional heavy staples for more healthy, equally satisfying ingredients. (Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, fruit juice instead of sugar in cranberry sauce, coconut milk instead of heavy cream in desserts, etc.).

4. Monitor Your Portions

Thanksgiving tables are always full of our traditional family favorites. Before loading your plate, look around the table and then select reasonable-sized portions of the foods you cannot live without. I love to have a little bit of everything, but I try to go heavier on the veggie sides. Filling half your plate with veggies allows you to fill up on the good stuff while still enjoying your other favorites!

5. Skip the Seconds

Though it may be hard, try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Leftovers are much better the next day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overdo it (and have more room for a delicious dessert!).

6. Slowly Savor

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and truly tasting each bite is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food. This is also a great way to practice gratitude for the food on your plate!

7. Ease up on Alcohol

As we know, those alcohol calories can add up quickly and it’s easy to forget about them when food tends to be more of the focus on Thanksgiving. Monitor your alcohol portions, and try to have a full glass or two of water in between drinks. This way you can still enjoy yourself while staying hydrated, limiting excess alcohol calories, and have a much more pleasant day after Thanksgiving!

8. Set Realistic Expectations

The holiday season is a time to enjoy yourself and celebrate time spent with your loved ones. Keeping your health goals in mind doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy and indulge, and stressing over food can often do more harm than good. Go easy on yourself, and strive for balance when possible.

9. Focus on your Family & Friends

Thanksgiving is not only about the delicious food, but a time to celebrate relationships with your loved ones. Staying present, giving thanks, and remembering what is most important to us is the ultimate goal of the holidays. Though this holiday season may look a bit different than it did in years past, it may also be the most important occasion to celebrate the people in our lives and share our gratitude for them (near and far).

Stay safe, stay well, and I hope these tips help you to have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!

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