Achieving a Healthy Thanksgiving

Back when I was in college, I was in a class where I had to maintain a blog in cooperation with another student. (This was back when I wrote under the name KD.) I put together a piece on tips for achieving a healthy Thanksgiving. Today, I’m going to share those tips with you. Reposted from Eat, Breathe, Live. Wellness with some edits for clarity and including my current understanding of topics.

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Different countries around the world celebrate holidays which are similar to American Thanksgiving. Some harvest celebrations have passed, but many Thanksgiving/Harvest celebrations occur in the second half of November. If you plan on partaking in the merriment but are trying to stay nutritionally healthy, you may be a bit frazzled with the celebrations coming up this month. But I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. You can allow yourself to join in and still stay healthy. Here are suggestions on how to keep your health goals this year.

 

The Meats

Instead of going for the deep-fried turkeys and honey hams, give skinless roasted turkey a shot! This option is rated as the healthiest way to cook a turkey according to Oprah.com. It not only cuts down 50 calories, but it has less saturated fats. You get the tradition of turkey while keeping your nutrition in mind. It also can be quite delicious with just thyme, rosemary, and lemon juice. Yummm.

 

The Veggies

When piling up the food, keep in mind that colorful vegetables should take up half of your plate. Vegetables offer high amounts of vitamins, low calories, and the World Health Organization says it can decrease certain diseases when eaten in correct portions on a regular basis. Given the amount of food we tend to eat on these holidays, it would not be a bad idea for half of it to have these benefits.

 

The Starches

Potatoes, stuffing, corn, rice, rolls–there are a plethora of starches that go into Thanksgiving/Harvest celebrations. They also can be the biggest source of carbs and calories. If you are looking to enjoy your holiday celebration AND keep your health goals, limit the starches to those that you only have during the holidays. You don’t want to waste your calories on foods that you can have any day. Enjoy your butternut squash and stuffing. Just don’t go crazy with these highly caloric foods.

 

The Desserts

Everything in moderation dears. You don’t need to avoid all desserts. I think that is a foolish choice that usually results in overindulgence later. Cut yourself a small slice of pie, eat one red bean patty, or enjoy your tart. But, make sure you set a limit and hold yourself to it.

 

The Drinks

Though it may be tempting to drink alcohol and get a buzz, remember that some alcohols are higher in caloric value. Trade out your whiskey and beer for wine and sake. They can decrease your calorie intake by 50 to 100 for one serving size. If you drink multiple servings, this can become a much larger difference. Or, if you really feel worried about the amount of calories you will take in, drink lots and lots of water. Water can help decrease your appetite. It can increase your digestion/metabolism. Plus, it has zero chemicals or calories. What could be a better deal than that?

 

The Plate

This will probably sound silly, but eat your food on a smaller plate. A multitude of studies have all found that decreasing plate size can help you reduce food consumption. Finishing the food on your plate can trick your brain into believing you are full. If there is less area on the plate, this usually decreases the food on the plate. (For some, this one may not be feasible. If you only have one plate size, there is not much you can do except maybe purchase smaller disposable plates.)

 

These are just a few ways to help you celebrate the holidays and stay healthy at the same time. Following these tips will increase the nutritional value of your meal. Plus, you can decrease the bad fats and empty calories. If you do end up overindulging, don’t be too hard on yourself though. Just get yourself back on schedule the next day. One moment does not erase all the goals and progress you’ve made. Overall, just remember that you are worth the effort to keep your body healthy. [To be clear, body shape and size is not indicative of health. That is a complete misnomer that I will not endorse or reinforce. When I say keeping your body healthy, I simply mean giving yourself the nutrients that help give you energy, keep your immune system high, and improve your focus.]

Stay mindful, and stay well.

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