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How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier


Whether you have a taste for turkey or a passion for pie, chances are you’ll end your Thanksgiving Day feeling as stuffed as the bird that fed your family. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few simple ways to make your Thanksgiving healthier without losing the essence of the holiday.

Don’t come starving

You might be tempted to fast all day before Thanksgiving dinner, but doing so makes you more likely to overeat. If you’re trying to make healthier choices, you’ll have a much easier time if you’re not ravenous. Eat breakfast before a Thanksgiving lunch, or a light lunch before a Thanksgiving dinner, to make sure you have the willpower to know when enough is enough.

Get outside

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get active with your family. If there’s a Turkey Trot race in your area, sign up with friends or family to get an active start to your day. If racing isn’t your thing, go for a walk with the family at a local park. Or, if you’re sports fans, arrange a game of flag football and enjoy running around in the fresh air before dinner.

Eat what you want… in moderation

Telling yourself you will only eat healthy sides and vegetables and avoid everything else is not a smart strategy. The foods you’re avoiding will seem more tempting if you cut them out entirely, which raises your chances of slipping and gorging on creamy pie or butter-laden mashed potatoes. Instead, take a small portion of everything and savor it as you eat. Keep servings of starchy vegetables to about the size of an ice cream scoop. For turkey, try to stick to white breast meet and avoid the skin as it contains added calories.

Listen to your body

Your body is really good at telling you when it’s full. After you’ve finished your plate, take a break before considering a second helping and listen to your body. Do you still feel hungry, or are you just imagining how amazing another serving of stuffing will taste? If you’re not truly hungry, loading up on more food will make you feel bloated and lethargic later on.

Volunteer to host

If not this year, consider hosting Thanksgiving dinner yourself next time. By hosting the meal, you can make healthier swaps in your recipes, such as using thinner crust for pie or making a giant pan of roasted veggies. If you can’t or don’t want to host, bring a healthy side dish or appetizer with you. Even if you can’t cook, a raw veggie tray with hummus is a low-key option that will help you fill up on healthy vegetables rather than empty calories.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean stretchy pants and being full to bursting. Make healthier choices this year and enjoy what the holiday is really all about: friends and family.

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