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What Does a Healthy Thanksgiving Look Like?

By Ali Struhs
November 6, 2014

Each year at Thanksgiving, we gather around the dinner table and spoil our tastebuds and often our diet with sugary cranberry sauce, salty gravy, and heaps of mashed potatoes. For a day that is so focused on food, it’s easy to get lost in the kitchen and forget the true meaning of the day. Instead of concentrating on the pumpkin pie and gravy, here is what a healthy Thanksgiving looks like:

Be thankful
So often Thanksgiving turns into a hectic day spent in the kitchen basting the turkey and baking pie after pie. You might miss out on what the day is actually all about – being thankful for family, friends, health, and home. Keep the day simple by not focusing on the food and recognizing the importance of togetherness. If you can, prepare (healthy version) of stuffing, salads, and desserts the day before, so you can simplify the traditional dinner and spend more time with the family. Gather with your family and friends before you eat to talk about what you’re thankful for this year. You can even be grateful for the progress you’ve made on your weight loss program!

Exercise as a family
Step out of the kitchen for some fresh, crisp autumn air and exercise as a family. Go for a walk before and after dinner in the falling leaves, cruise around the neighborhood on bicycles, or organize a fun game of football in the backyard. If the weather is uncooperative for outdoor activity plans, do something fun in the family room, such as “gobble games.” You could even break tradition and head for the ski hill!

Catch up with friends
Skip the chip-and-dip appetizers and fill your pre-dinner time with catching up with friends. You’ll be less likely to munch on snacks if you’re chatting with your neighbors and friends that you invited over for dinner about their latest news!

Stay on track during dinner
During Thanksgiving dinner, stay on track with your weight loss progress. While it may be easy to have seconds or indulge in two different types of pies, be aware of the potential effect on your healthier lifestyle. Avoid overeating by eating smaller portions of starchy, high-calorie foods like potatoes and stuffing and filling your plate with lean turkey and colorful vegetables. Don’t go back for seconds! Pick one dish to splurge on, like putting gravy on both your potatoes and turkey or saving room for a slice of pumpkin pie. Of course, be sure to stop eating when you’re full!

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