Have a happy (& healthy) Thanksgiving
Is it possible to indulge without #goingallout on turkey day? We think yes. Some simple strategies can help you keep overeating in check so that you can more fully enjoy yourself and your company this holiday.
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. It’s a time to gather with family and friends to reflect, express gratitude, and celebrate with a delicious feast. It also marks the start of the holiday season—where parties, festivities, and get-togethers are in full swing. While Thanksgiving and other holiday hangouts are a great time to connect and have fun, it’s easy to overindulge, over-commit our time, and experience more stress. This Thanksgiving and holiday season, we’d like to encourage you to be mindful of how you schedule your time and energy so that your health and wellness goals don’t fall by the wayside. After all, when we reflect upon what we’re thankful for, our health should be towards the top of the list. Establishing a balance of selective indulgence—whether mind, body, or time—will help you end the year on a high note, and ready to go after new goals in 2018.
To start the season off right, we’ve put together some tips to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and navigate the abundance of food without going overboard. Yes, it can be done.
Ten strategies to help you stay on track this Thanksgiving:
1. Start with a healthy breakfast. Starting your day with nourishing foods will prevent you from being ravenous when it’s time for the main meal. It will also provide the energy you need to cook and mingle. Make sure to pack healthy snacks if you’ll be traveling to your destination.
2. Move it! From a turkey trot run, flag football game, or a walk after your Thanksgiving meal, plan a way to get some movement during the day. Recruit family members or guests to be active with you. Check our holiday schedule if you’ll be in town!
3. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat. It’s far too easy to down an entire bag of chips if you’re mindlessly eating while watching a football game, for example. Use a plate for your snacks and appetizers to better regulate portions.
4. Bring your own healthy dish. As a guest, plan to contribute a nutritious dish so you can count on having a healthy option available. Make a healthier version of a traditional recipe, or introduce others to your favorite dish.
5. Snack on veggies. A beautiful tray of raw vegetables with a healthy dip is a great way to snack without filling up on too many calories before the meal. If you’re cooking in the kitchen all day, keep some veggies within reach to prevent excess grazing.
6. Don’t deprive, but selectively splurge. Don’t deprive yourself from eating your favorite holiday foods (what’s the fun in that?). Instead, determine what you enjoy most so you can indulge on those items and pass, or go light on, the dishes that are less special to you. Have some of your favorite things, but not ALL of EVERYTHING.
7. Save half of your plate for veggies. There are plenty of delicious vegetable recipes that wonderfully compliment the Thanksgiving meal OG’s. Simply roasted root vegetables are amazing (and easy!). Start with a satisfying soup (such as this butternut squash and coconut soup) to sneak in more nutrients.
8. Go light on the heavy hitters. Stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, certain casseroles, gravy, etc. can pack a whopping amount of calories and fat in a small dose. As mentioned earlier, decide what to splurge on before you fill your plate, and watch serving sizes for these dishes in particular.
9. Drink water. It’s easy to down glass after glass of wine but remember to drink water throughout the day and evening to keep hydrated and prevent an unwanted hangover.
10. Eat dessert. Yes, we said it. You’re less likely to over-indulge during the meal knowing there’s a delicious slice of pumpkin pie waiting for you. Select one desert (and not the entire pie) and go easy on toppings such as sauces or whipped cream.
Most importantly, as you enjoy delicious food at your gathering, remember what’s truly nourishing is to savor the conversations and cherish the time spent with good company.
Blogpost written by Ascend content expert, Ashley Hart