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.
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.
By Lizzie Meyers
Sure, a day devoted to eating those savory, homemade dishes we wait for all year seems pretty ideal in theory. However, the unfortunate reality of Thanksgiving comes with the adverse effects the typical feast has on heart health. In fact, the American Heart Association has reported that the risk of a heart attack quadruples in the two hours after eating a particularly heavy meal. Those special holiday dishes are extra delicious for a reason: they tend to be chock-full of fat and sodium, two of your heart’s worst enemies. That’s not to say that the entire buffet table is off limits. Let’s get real, that would be downright torture! Certain Thanksgiving dishes are more detrimental to your heart’s health while others fair relatively safe. To determine what falls where, here’s a heart-healthy guide of dos and don’ts for a happy Thanksgiving:
- Do opt for the white meat of the turkey because it is much lower in cholesterol than the dark meat on the leg and thigh.
- Don’t eat the skin. No matter how crispy it looks, remind yourself that the cholesterol and saturated fats that come with it are certainly not worth it.
- Don’t drench your meat in gravy. This sauce, if made traditionally, essentially consists of the excess grease and fat from the turkey. Needless to say, it can be hard on the heart. Try to resist this topping, or at the very least, limit yourself to just one tablespoon for the whole meal.
The Side Dishes
- Do load up on veggies. The brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and salad are the safest bets in keeping your heart happy throughout the meal. Try to make sure there are more colorful veggies than anything else on your plate, and skip the fat/sugar loaded casseroles.
- Do enjoy some cranberry relish as long as it is homemade. Cranberries have been found to have some heart health benefits, but the amount of refined sugars that tend to be added to canned relishes simply counteract the berries’ health benefits. While the homemade sauces may require some sugar, they likely contain less simple sugar and the real cranberries will give your heart a boost.
- Don’t overdo the stuffing. I know that’s easier said than done, but the chicken broth, white bread, and sausage in the traditional version make for a sodium and fat-packed concoction that can send your cholesterol skyrocketing. Your heart will thank you if you allow yourself just a spoonful with your meal.
No matter how stuffed we are after the huge feast, it’s somehow still impossible to resist the wide selection of desserts that follow. Before taking a slice of (every) pie, remind yourself of these tips.
- Do eat that slice of pumpkin pie, guilt free, if your sweet tooth has you screaming. The pumpkin filling is naturally full of fiber and one slice of the delectable treat is much lower in calories and fat than any of the other contenders.
- Don’t indulge in a big hunk of pecan pie. One slice can contain up to 27 grams of fat and enough sugar to practically supply a household skittles factory.
Are you the chef this Thanksgiving? If so, EatingWell.com provides a few helpful tips and recipes to make this the heart-healthiest Thanksgiving yet!
By Lizzie Meyers
Ah, Thanksgiving: A time to be with family, reflect on what you’re thankful for, and of course, chow down on some delicious home cookin’. Because the holiday only comes once a year, the feast of special dishes on the Thanksgiving table feels nearly impossible to resist. Unfortunately, this table tends to hold a ton of calories and fat.
“I love that bloated, uncomfortable feeling after a second helping,” says no one, ever. This Thanksgiving, avoid the post meal food coma by being aware of your eating habits. While you can still give in to your favorite indulgences, there are plenty of simple tricks to keep you happy and healthy long after the meal is over. Remember, overindulging for even just one day can lead to that dreaded holiday weight gain, so be smart as you gobble up.
1. Don’t Fast Beforehand
The myth: If you starve yourself all day until the Thanksgiving feast, you’ll balance out the calories consumed at dinner and walk away with a clean slate. Wrong! Render this technique, and you’ll be ravenous by the time dinner is ready, upping your inclination to overeat. This also puts your body in starvation mode, which causes your metabolism to slow down and your body to store more food as fat than it typically would.
The takeaway: Make sure to fuel up on a protein-packed breakfast. This way, come dinnertime, you won’t feel the desire to devour everything at once, and you can instead walk happily and healthily away with leftovers. Two (moderately-portioned) Thanksgiving dinners are better than one, don’t you think?
2. Create a Healthy Plate
The Harvard School of Public Health has devised a guide for what a healthy meal should look like known as the The Healthy Eating Plate. Roughly use these guidelines for your Thanksgiving meal, and you’re guaranteed a better experience. Sure, stuffing may not usually be considered a whole grain, but the idea is to balance your meal. Make sure the lean proteins and green beans take up the majority of your plate. Then, stay satisfied by plating a small portion of other dishes, like stuffing and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.
3. Pace Yourself
Did you know that it takes an undivided 20 minutes for your brain to register that you feel full? Because of this, eating too quickly can cause you to keep plowing through, even after your body is ready to quit. Try to savor your Thanksgiving feast by chewing slowly. Savor each bite to the fullest, and consider laying your fork down every three bites. Another trick to pace yourself is to take a sip of water between each bite. Let yourself register whether you’re still hungry or not before downing that fateful second serving
Keep these tips in mind this year as you survey your savory Thanksgiving spread, and give thanks to the day for bringing a healthier, happier you.
By Karen Borsari, First Posted on Shape, November 12, 2012
Now is the perfect time to master twisted triangle pose. This standing stretch massages digestive organs, alleviating tummy troubles (including constipation) that may result from overeating—something that, admittedly, is more apt to happen this time of year.
Pin the image to your Pinterest boards and use the tips below to perfect the pose and give your metabolism a boost, aid digestion, and detox your body before next week’s day of indulgence. Then keep it up to increase flexibility in the hips, shoulders, chest, and hamstrings; improve balance; and alleviate back pain.