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4 Tips for a Happier, Healthier Thanksgiving Break

By Staci Amend
November 2016

Yes, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the abundance in our lives. But as a tradition that began with a feast, it’s also the most food-centric day of the year. Is it possible to truly enjoy this so-called “turkey day” in the midst of a successful weight loss journey? Absolutely! Here are four easy tips from your friends at Jenny Craig to help you stay on track during the long weekend—and get a healthy jump on the holiday season.

1. Stay active.
You’ve got a few days off… put them to good use! If you’re not the spontaneous exercise type, check your gym or yoga studio’s Thanksgiving weekend schedule a few days in advance, then make a firm plan to attend the most appealing classes; you’ll be more likely to go if you make a workout date with a friend. Many cities even host “turkey trots” the day of; sign up with the family for a fun activity. If the weather forecast looks fair, plan a hike with your family—and by all means, don’t let the actual holiday be an excuse to laze around! Going for a brisk walk an hour after the feast is a wonderful way to avoid the “turkey nap.”

2. Eat smart.
Nobody’s expecting you to be a “diet saint” on this particular Thursday—but you also don’t want one anything-goes meal to derail two weeks’ worth of healthy choices. So when you’re filling your plate on Thanksgiving, choose wisely. Use your visual portioning guide. Load up on healthy veggies, choosing steamed or lightly sautéed dishes over creamy casseroles or marshmallow-covered yams. Here’s a tried-and-true plate-filling trick: use one dinner roll to make a turkey-cranberry slider, then fill the rest of your plate with lightly dressed salad or green vegetables. Then ensure that you stay on track by choosing a Jenny Craig dessert over pie. Our Apple Crisp and Chocolate Walnut Brownie are even more delicious after about 20 seconds in the microwave.

3. Avoid leftovers.
If we’re being honest—and we ALWAYS are, here at Jenny Craig—we know that one of the most challenging things about Thanksgiving weekend is those amazing leftovers! To avoid being tempted for the next few days, enlist your family’s help: have each member pack up one complete meal, including dessert, in separate containers with their names on them. Then considering packing up everything else for those less fortunate. Most homeless shelters welcome food donations, so find one near you and swing by with your extras.

4. Give thanks.
When everyone around you is on the second piece of pie, you might be tempted to notice what you don’t have. If you feel this happening, this is a perfect opportunity to exercise your gratitude muscle! Take a few moments to mentally immerse yourself in gratitude for everything that’s going right in your life. Now focus specifically on your weight loss journey: what has giving up unhealthy habits given back in return? Whether it’s a boost to your self-esteem, a few smaller-sized pieces in your wardrobe or more energy to chase your toddler, let those good vibes wash over you! Continuing to make healthy choices should be easy as you-know-what.

Related Content:
3 Foolproof Tips for a Less Hectic Holiday
What Does a Healthy Thanksgiving Look Like?
Gratitude is Good for You—Give Thanks Today