6 Ways to Have a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Many of us want to enjoy our Thanksgiving day without feeling overly full or uncomfortable afterward. The good news is that it’s totally possible to eat all of your favorite foods and stay on top of your health goals. With a little extra thought and prep, you can have the Thanksgiving that you desire.

Take control of the day and jump-start your motivation for a healthy and active holiday season—one where you lose, not gain!

1. Try a Healthy New Recipe

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Holiday party buffets, with their endless, calorie-laden options, can be intimidating. When you think about Thanksgiving, you probably picture glistening turkey, creamy mashed potatoes with a pat of butter, golden-brown stuffing, crisp apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream… And there is nothing wrong with that! For most people, there is no harm in indulging on occasion.

But try to make it in a healthier and nutritious form so that it won’t lead to weight gain.

2. Plan a post-meal walk

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As soon as you arrive at your Thanksgiving celebration, announce that you plan to take a walk after the meal. Most likely, some of your family and friends will want to join you. Once you get a few people on board, it’ll be tough to bail out.

A walk will help you burn some calories and likely put you in the right mindset to turn down the second piece of pumpkin pie!

3. Walk around and talk to people

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Rather than obsess over the food at Thanksgiving, focus your attention on the entire celebration, including the once-a-year sights, sounds, and people at the event.

Instead of sampling each and every appetizer before dinner, try walking around and catching up with family and friends.

4. Plan a workout date next morning

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Instead of feeling bloated and lethargic the day after Thanksgiving, schedule a fitness date with a friend for that morning—then you have to show up!

Knowing you’ve committed to burning off those extra calories from Thanksgiving allows you to splurge without feeling guilty. Plus, the thought of an early-morning workout might keep you from having too many glasses of wine during dinner!

5. Volunteer to help clean-up

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Instead of picking at the leftovers or helping yourself to a second (or third) dessert, offer to help the host clean up. They will appreciate the gesture, and physically removing yourself from the table will help take your attention away from the food.

Cleaning up will also help you burn some calories!

6. Stop eating when you’re full

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OK, this tip probably seems pretty obvious, but Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when people plan to eat until they are stuffed to the brim.

Instead of seeing how much you can eat, serve yourself a small, golf-ball-size serving of everything you want—no restrictions—but have only enough to satisfy your stomach without overdoing it. Remember, Thanksgiving is one day. Done right, you won’t set yourself back too far!

Source: Ferriday D, Bosworth ML, Lai S, et al. Effects of eating rate on satiety: A role for episodic memory? Physiol Behav. 2015;152(Pt B):389-396. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.06.038


Author: Devika

Devika, M.Sc, NET Qualified is passionate about helping people discover the power of nourishing real food. She specializes in weight management, therapeutic nutrition, food allergies and intolerances, inflammatory diseases, gut health, and functional nutrition. Her approach blends a conventional health care and nutrition background with natural and science-based therapies.