Tips for Healthy Eating this Thanksgiving

By Angela Ciroalo ~

Thanksgiving – the one holiday solely focused around eating. Though the holiday’s true meaning surrounds gratefulness and camaraderie between cultures, the focus often shifts towards FOOD. Let’s take a few moments and review a few creative and easy-to-do tips that will leave you feeling fantastic post-Thanksgiving, opposed to leaving you in a food-coma of guilt.

What about Veggies?

It is easy to get caught up with the turkey, ham, stuffing, pumpkin pie and cornbread. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends adults eat 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. Be sure to make room for the delicious vegetable side dishes in an effort to consume a well-balanced and nutrient-dense meal. If you think that your host may not have a variety of vegetables available, consider making a delicious side dish or salad to bring. Not only will you keep yourself on track, but you will inspire others to also eat healthy this Thanksgiving!

Have a Plan in Place:

Arrive to your Thanksgiving feast with a plan in mind. In an effort to avoid overeating, mindfully consider the amount of food that you will eat. If you are planning to eat a slice of pecan pie, cut down on the carbohydrate-rich and high fat foods during dinner. Be mindful of the portion sizes you select and plan your meal accordingly.

Set Boundaries:

When creating your plan, set yourself specific boundaries. If you really love cornbread, set a limit of 1-2 pieces. If you are looking forward to a holiday cocktail, eat one small serving of stuffing. Regardless of the specific boundaries you set, don’t let your plan fail to the wayside. Consistently remind yourself of the goals you’ve set and why you set them.

Take it Slow:

Yes, Thanksgiving provides a variety of delicious food which we look forward to all year. However, there is no rush! Make your plate allows yourself time to eat your meal. Place your fork down between bites and be sure to fully chew each bite. The digestion process begins in the mouth. While you are chewing your body sends signals to your stomach to prepare for digestion as enzymes are released into your mouth and begins breaking food down. In an effort to optimize digestion allow your body time to fully digest your food. Furthermore, don’t rush to grab a second plate of food. Take a walk, drink some water, and allow 20 minutes between each serving. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full.

Create laughter:

Holiday conversation amongst family can be trialing at times. In an effort to avoid negative or frustrating conversation topics, rehearse a few neutral jokes you can share. The laughter will brighten the mood and lift your spirits. Professor William Fry, psychology professor at Standford University, studies laughter and the positive effects. He has found through research that laughter; releases endorphins (neurotransmitters that create happiness), lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, and improves mood.

Keep moving:

It can be easy to find ourselves sitting at the dinner table or on the couch throughout the day. Lack of activity mixed with a large calorie-dense meal is a recipe for disaster for our health. Improve your blood flow, digestion, stress levels, and mood by adding in a stroll either between courses or before dinner.  Try inviting friends or family members to join you.

Choose your Location Wisely:

When choosing a place to stand or sit during your holiday party, consider a spot away from appetizers and beverages. It is must easier to be tempted by party snacks, appetizers and desserts when they are placed right in front of you. To avoid any extra calories, choose a location clear from temptation and filled with great conversation.

Drink up:

With all of the fantastic holiday treats it is easy to forget to hydrate! Thirst can lead to false hunger signals causing you to eat extra calories or splurge on unnecessary sweets. An average of 8-13 glasses of water per day is recommended for adults. Your specific daily water intake is determined based on weight and activity level. Nevertheless, be sure to have water on-hand between servings and dessert.


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