5 Ways to Have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving
By Alyssa Kessel, RDN, LD, Expert Dietitian
Thanksgiving dinner tends to have a bad reputation for overindulgence followed by extreme guilt. Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain it, or simply be healthier, you can make the choice this holiday season to stay focused on your goals.
To lend you a hand, I’ve created a list of tips and healthy recipe swaps to trim down your meal and let you be guilt free. Rest assured, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious ways to lighten up your favorite Thanksgiving dishes!
1. Let go of “perfect”.
We don’t expect it in other areas of our life, so we shouldn’t expect “perfect” when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. Thanksgiving is just one day and (usually) one meal. The holidays are busy times; you may eat more calories than you should or miss your workout. It’s okay, I promise. Just hop back on the wagon the next day and get back to your healthy routine.
2. Make a game plan.
Decide the day before the party that you’re going to wake up early on Thanksgiving and get in a good workout. Strategic planning can help you make good choices and keep your calorie intake down. My favorite tips:
- Go for a walk or sign up for a Turkey Trot
- Plan in advance what you’re going to eat
- Go into dinner allowing yourself to indulge in one of your favorite (i.e. choose between stuffing or potatoes, between dessert or wine, etc.) – and stick to it!
3. Eat before dinner.
Skipping meals to “save your calories” for dinner isn’t the best idea. Make sure you have a filling breakfast and lunch and add in snacks throughout the day. If you show up to dinner starving, you’ll be more likely to overeat and your body will have a harder time digesting the heavy meal.
4. Fill up on turkey and vegetables.
Your Thanksgiving dinner can be healthy if you make the right choices:
- Turkey is rich in protein, iron, potassium, and vitamin B6. Choose white turkey meat and avoid the skin to cut out fat.
- Green beans, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes are all packed full of vitamins and fiber. Reach for these before the carbs!
You can even prepare your own version of your favorite dish for a healthier option. And remember, slow down when you’re eating to allow your body enough time to know that it’s full.
5. Most importantly, enjoy the holiday!
Reflect on what the holiday means to you and be thankful for your health. Take the focus off food and consider giving help to those in need by volunteering at a local food bank. Surround yourself with friends and family – and enjoy the time you have together!
- Roasted Parmesan Green Beans from Skinnytaste
- 3-Ingredient Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes from A Sweet Pea Chef
- Rosemary & Garlic Cauliflower Mash from Eat Yourself Skinny
- Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Thyme from Five Heart Home
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole from A Sweet Pea Chef
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Joy, Food, Sunshine
- Cranberry Pecan Cauliflower Rice Stuffing from Peace, Love and Low Carb
- Keto Low Carb Riced Cauliflower Stuffing from Food Faith Fitness
- Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce from A Sweet Pea Chef
A healthy Thanksgiving is possible! Even if you do indulge on Thanksgiving, don’t give up on all healthy eating until 2019. The morning after the big dinner, get right back to your healthy habits. If you need any support or guidance this holiday season or after, fill out our online form to get started!