Thanksgiving is Almost Here!

Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season, and it is almost here! For many, this is an exciting time full of family, friends, travel, and holiday parties. It can also be a time where people put healthy habits on the back burner, leading to overwhelming “get back in shape” New Year’s resolutions. Not to worry, though! It is possible to fully enjoy Thanksgiving without getting off on the wrong foot for the holiday season. Follow the tips below to have a healthy, happy, and low-stress Thanksgiving!

Healthy Eating Tips

In this article, seven influential dietitians offer their tips for eating healthier during Thanksgiving. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Focus on seasonal produce. There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season during Thanksgiving such as squash, leafy greens, pumpkin, apples, pears, cranberries and pomegranates. Focus on these ingredients and make them the star of your side dishes. They still fit the Thanksgiving theme, but they are much healthier!
  • Use herbs and spices in place of salt. Thanksgiving meals tend to really pack in a lot of sodium. So, if you are doing the cooking, replace salt with things like smoked paprika, sage, fresh tarragon, turmeric, and garlic cloves.
  • Practice moderation. It is Thanksgiving after all, so allow yourself to indulge a little. The best way to tackle a Thanksgiving meal is to load up on turkey breast and vegetables first. Then, go back for your absolute favorites. Use a small plate and only take sample sizes. Also, don’t waste calories on things that you don’t absolutely love, or you that you can have any other time of year.
  • Watch your liquid calories. Sugary cocktail mixes can really add up throughout the day. Instead, go for a half a glass of wine or make “mocktails,” a mix of sparkling water, a splash of juice, and a slice of fresh fruit. Remember to space out any alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of water!

Mental Health Tips

  • Remember what Thanksgiving is all about. The real meaning is to gather in unity and to give thanks. It’s time of healing and of sharing our strength and happiness. So, do not let the stress of preparing a perfect Thanksgiving meal or decorating the house for company get to you. Instead, focus on feeling gratitude. This will help you feel happy and positive and lower your stress levels.
  • If family is what causes you stress, make a mental list on how to prevent stressful situations before everyone arrives. Figuring out exactly what can trigger your stress will help you prevent it, or at least keep it from getting out of control.  For example, if there are any tense subjects, make sure to avoid bringing them up. If they come up anyway, have a plan to leave the room and step outside for a breath of fresh air.
  • Cooking all day, decorating the house, and having family and friends over is fun and exciting for some people. However, it can also be very stressful and overwhelming. If that is how you feel, then don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask people to bring a side dish with them and ask for help prepping or cleaning up. This will also give you more time to socialize and prevent you from feeling isolated and exhausted.

Overall Health Tips

  • Exercise! Exercise really belongs in all three sections. It helps you crave healthier foods, it is a healthy stress reliever, and it keeps your body strong and able to fight off illnesses.
  • Drink plenty of water. Keep your water bottle with you and refill it as soon as it is empty. Staying hydrated will not only keep you from feeling fatigued, but it will help keep you feeling full.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Adequate sleep an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It allows your body and mind to recover from a busy day and it also keeps your immune system strong. If your are traveling during Thanksgiving, then sleep is not only important for your health, but also your safety.

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