Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving

Image taken at a produce stand near Downtown Crossing Station

Tomorrow is the big day! Here are my top tips to have a happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

  • Start the day off right with a new tradition. Starting the morning with exercise puts you in a good mood, as well as a healthy mindset to go about your day with. A turkey trot is a great way to get some morning exercise in, and often comes in distances that are comfortable for adults and children alike. No fun runs in your area? Try meeting up with friends or neighbors for a jog or bike ride. It is a great way to enjoy the holiday together before everyone disperses to their own family dinners. Running not your thing? Suggest a neighborhood walk between dinner and dessert, or perhaps a family flag football game or race.
  • Pick your favorites. Don’t feel like you have to try everything just because it is Thanksgiving. If pumpkin pie isn’t your thing, don’t bother! Fill your plate with foods that you will savor and truly enjoy.
  • Balance your plate. Aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables (such as asparagus, green beans, sweet potatoes, or a salad), a quarter of your plate lean protein (such as turkey!), and a quarter of your plate starches (such as mashed potatoes, corn, or a whole grain roll). This doesn’t mean that should only choose one food from each category, it simply means that your plate should have balanced proportions of the different food groups. Try to emulate MyPlate (see below).
  • Exercise portion control. Go easy on casseroles, gravies, desserts, and alcohol, as these can be sources of hidden calories without a substantial nutritional benefit. These dishes can still be enjoyed, just remember to practice moderation. A good strategy is to plan ahead of time what you are going to indulge in, so that you don’t lose out to last minute temptation.
  • Honor your hunger and fullness cues. It is not a good idea to skip breakfast or lunch in preparation for your Thanksgiving meal. You will begin the meal ravenous and end up overindulging. On the same note, it is also important to respect your fullness. Put down your fork between bites, and take a mental note of what your fullness level is. Don’t feel like you have to finish everything on your plate. It is better to take home leftovers and enjoy the remainder of your meal when you are hungry.
  • Remember what Thanksgiving is all about. Despite the hype, it’s not all about the food. Enjoy your holiday with your loved ones, perform a random act of kindness, and count your blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for!

Image via MyPlate.gov

For more information on how to eat healthy during Thanksgiving:

  • Click here for a great resource on how to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with diabetes
  • Click here to learn more about respecting your hunger and fullness cues through the process of intuitive eating

Happy Turkey Day!


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