Three Ways to Enjoy A Healthy Thanksgiving

by Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD
thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Not because of the food but because you get to spend time with family and friends without the stress of buying the “right” gift. But the real meaning of Thanksgiving is often overshadowed by the food. Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal is approximately 3,000 calories? And that’s just the actual Thursday afternoon meal; it doesn’t include the late night turkey sandwich or the weekend of pie eating. This holiday is made for intuitive eating. If you go to the table not thinking of it as your “last” meal, you will be able to listen to your body and eat the foods that you truly want and stop when you are satisfied. Here are three tips that will ensure a healthy Thanksgiving.

Don’t “Bank” Calories
You might think it’s a good idea to skip breakfast so you can eat more at the Thanksgiving table, but this will only make you ravenous by the time the turkey hits the plate. Following your normal eating schedule will give you more control over your appetite and allow you to make smarter choices. Also, hungry people tend to not be the best guest, and you wouldn’t want to waste any opportunity to show all your greatness to family and friends.

Savor Every Morsel and Every Minute
Why would you eat something you could have everyday when you only get to eat Aunt Sue’s Jell-O mold once a year? This is a great time to use mindful and intuitive eating which gives you permission to eat the foods you love. Eat slowly so you can really taste and enjoy each bite. Some easy ways to make sure you give your brain and stomach time to communicate are to put your fork down between bites, engage in conversation or use your non-dominate hand.

Get Active
You don’t have to lace up your sneakers and run a turkey trot (although it is a great way to start the day), you just need to move your body. Go for a walk before dessert, play football or soccer in the backyard, break out the Twister board or just have a dance party. Start a new tradition this Thanksgiving by challenging everyone to get up and move for at least 30 minutes.

If you find that you have overdone it, don’t punish yourself or feel guilty. Focus on how tasty the food was, the good time you had and the great company. And if you need a little coaching during the holidays, download the Healthsoup app and get started with your personal nutrition coach today.