6 Ways to Have a Healthier Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to give thanks to your health, your greatest asset in life.

Below, find six ways you can be mindful of that, and create a healthier, happier Thanksgiving for you and your waistline.

Yogurt for breakfast

Make the Most of Your Morning: Yoga & Yogurt

Start off strong by fitting in an a.m. stretch session when you wake up. This will leave you feeling relaxed, yet energized for the day ahead. Then follow it up with a healthy breakfast. Skipping this meal to save calories for later in the day can end up leading to an even higher intake overall, since hunger often results in overcompensation at the main meal. Try adding sliced bananas, cinnamon, walnuts, and a slight drizzle of honey to a bowl of plain, low fat Greek yogurt. Six ounces of Greek yogurt contains around 15 grams of protein, which will not only fill you up but also help keep you feeling satisfied until later in the day.


Save Space for Veggies, Sans Casserole

To prevent a day’s worth of calories from creeping up onto your plate, set aside half of it for veggies. However, beware, anything with the word casserole attached to it is better left un-plated. For instance, while we love our nutrient-filled sweet potatoes and green beans, their casserole counterparts aren’t on our health’s wish list. Check out the stats:

  • Calories in 1 cup green bean casserole: 230 (I.e., 7.5 x amount in steamed green beans)
  • Calories in 1 cup sweet potato casserole: 400 (I.e., 4 x amount in 1 cup baked sweet potato)

Since veggie casseroles can be deceivingly high in not just calories, but fat, too, it’s best to give them a pass as they’re handed around the table. Instead, reach for a simpler steamed or sautéed version of your favorite veggie that isn’t loaded with butter or dairy. If that’s not an available option, salad is always a safe bet. Just go light on the dressing. You could also always bring one of your own favorite veggie recipes. Check out this roundup for some of our healthy favorites!


Drop Your Weapon (Er, Fork) and Step Away From the Table (When Full)

It’s Thanksgiving, so go ahead and splurge a little. However, do so in moderation. Take a small spoonful of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and your other favorite holiday side dishes, and enjoy it. Eat slow so you can be mindful and aware of how full you’re feeling, and also fully appreciate what you’re eating. Take breaks from time to time to talk with those around you and to compliment the cooks at the table. Then, move on to the suggested activities below to avoid going in for seconds.


Join Operation Clean-Up

Rather than reaching for that second slice of pie, offer to clean up. It’ll keep you from continuing to nibble at the table, and will also get you moving. For every 15 minutes of washing dishes, you’ll burn about 20 calories, just another bonus of being your host’s favorite helping guest.


Walk Off That Turkey Leg and Post Meal Turkey Lag

Rather than hit the couch, re-energize yourself by stepping outside and moving those feet. Invite a family member or guest to join you, and use this time to share in what you’re thankful for. The exercise will not only torch a few calories, but will leave you feeling refreshed.

Friend Date

Plan a Friday Friend Date

If you overdid it a bit on Thanksgiving, remember, the following morning you have a fresh start. As LV’er Laura Meier puts it, “Don’t get too down on yourself. If you’ve messed up, don’t keep spiraling. That’s what we’re here to do – to improve and to learn from our mistakes.”

Schedule a fitness date with a friend in advance to ensure you get back on track. A pal will keep you accountable to your post-Thanksgiving fitness session and make sure you show up!

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