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6 Simple Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Updated on 27. Dec. 2018

Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating what we are thankful for, spending time with our family and friends, and of course enjoying a delicious meal. This meal does not have to derail your healthy eating habits, in fact, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving favorites with a few easy tips.

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There is an abundance of delicious food around on Thanksgiving, and whether it’s the pumpkin pie, the stuffing, or the mashed potatoes that is your favorite, you can enjoy all of it while not straying too far from your diet. Follow these tips to guide you through a delicious, smarter Thanksgiving.

  1. Eat a light, healthy breakfast. A lot of people think that if they skip breakfast or lunch before the big meal, they will be able to roll those calories over to dinner and enjoy more Thanksgiving goodness. If you start your day with a healthy breakfast and/or lunch, you will be less likely to overeat. This will help you make better choices throughout the meal and prevent grazing as you wait for the meal to come together. Some of our favorite ways to start the day, ayurvedic muesli or a vegetable omelet, are quick to make and will keep you full as you cook.
  2. Bring a healthy appetizer. If you are attending a gathering where there will be appetizers and snacks for a few hours before the big meal, volunteer to bring the appetizers. This way, you can make sure there are one or two healthy choices for snacking. We love these prosciutto figs or marinated olives, both of which are perfect for pre-meal snacking without filling everyone up too much.
  3. Build a healthy plate. Our friends at Greatist put together this great graphic that shows you how to put together a smarter plate at Thanksgiving. Take smaller portions of the stuff that isn’t super healthy and dedicate a big portion of your plate to greens and other healthy vegetables. These roasted brussels sprouts are simple to make and simply delicious.​
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  4. Embrace leftovers. With a big meal like Thanksgiving, there are bound to be a bunch of leftovers. This is great for two reasons: first, you don’t have to fill your plate super full of food because you can enjoy it in the days to come. And second, you can transform the leftovers into delicious and healthy meals like soups, salads, or casseroles. This barley soup with turkey breast is one of our favorite ways to use leftover turkey.  
  5. Don’t skip your favorites, it is ok to indulge. There is so much delicious food on Thanksgiving, and for a lot of us, it is one of our favorite meals of the year. If you are trying to maintain a healthy diet, it is ok to indulge a little bit for special occasions. By making conscious and mindful choices, like choosing smaller portions of the most calorie-rich items and instead fill up on veggies, you will be able to maintain your healthy habits while still enjoying the holiday. Even a little bit of dessert is ok!
  6. Keep an eye on liquid calories. When celebrating, it is easy to forget about those sneaky liquid calories that are hiding in our cocktails. Things like mulled wine or cider tend to have a decent amount of sugar and calories. Choose a smaller glass and be sure to drink plenty of water while enjoying these drinks or choose something that is lower in calories and sugar.

Thanksgiving should be a time when you think about what you are thankful for while spending time with family and friends, worrying about how the meal will affect your diet should not be part of it. By making simple, conscious, and thoughtful choices you will be able to enjoy all of your favorites and still be mindful of your healthy eating habits.


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