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10 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

We are all looking forward to Thanksgiving! We love spending this special time of the year in good company and with plenty of food to go around… twice.

When we think about the holiday season, we also dread the weight gain that goes along with it. Thanksgiving is the commencement of the holiday season and for most of us, the beginning of the downfall to all of the hard work we’ve put into our health and fitness so far this year.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  To avoid packing on the pounds while enjoying a healthy Thanksgiving, follow these 10 tips:

1.-Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. While you’re expressing your gratitude for the blessings and people in your life, remember to show appreciation to yourself. Be grateful for the progress you’ve made in your fitness journey. Appreciate all of the time and hard work you’ve dedicated into becoming the best version of yourself. If you take a moment to show yourself gratitude, it may just be the motivation you need to stay on track this Thanksgiving.

2.-Remember that Thanksgiving is only one day. Do not excuse yourself the week before or the whole week after to overindulge. You’ll spend a lot more time and energy working off the added weight (water retention too) that you’ve gained over a week than a day. If you are hosting, make take-home dishes or trays to minimize the amount of leftovers in your home. The less temptation you have staring you in the face, the better.

3.-If you are traveling to a loved one’s home for the holiday, make sure that you maintain healthy habits prior to your departure. For example, eat a healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal. Do not put 10 packets of sugar in your coffee. Don’t eat poorly in the morning simply because you will do so later on in the day.

4.-If you are hosting Thanksgiving, use it to your advantage. No matter what the classic Thanksgiving dish you’ve served on this holiday over the years, you can make a healthy version of it (sorry, Grandma!). As the chef, you can determine the menu based on your company as well as your favorites. Healthy dishes are delicious and most of your guests won’t even know the difference. If you decide to tell them (after all the compliments they give you), they will be full without any of the guilt!

5.-If you are faced with a table full of unhealthy foods, try to moderate your intake and make the best choices possible. If there are sources of protein (chicken, white-meat turkey, etc.) without a lot of buttery marinade, gravy (or sauce) and fat-laden toppings (if you can take them off, even better), put these foods on your plate. If you can find a sweet potato (without the added sugar, heavy cream, marshmallow topping, etc.), have one of those too! If you aren’t hosting, try to bring something healthy that you can eat that can also be enjoyed by the other guests (lightly sautéed, fresh-lemon on vegetables, etc.).

6.-Try to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. If you really want a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail, have one. After you’ve enjoyed it, switch to water. You will be grateful that you didn’t drink down a ton of extra calories the next morning.

7.-If you’ve set aside Thanksgiving to be your “cheat” day, go about it wisely. Instead of going up for seconds and thirds, have only one appetizer dish and one entrée plate at dinner. If you love and crave everything on the dessert table, have a little slice of everything. You can enjoy your cheat day without going overboard.

8.-Don’t forget to incorporate Thanksgiving Day exercise. You will help yourself stay on track by getting a workout in for the day. If you can’t get to the gym, try to complete a short video workout at home. If you can fit in 100 jumping jacks every time you put something in the oven, do it! Any physical activity or calories you can burn will help you feel less guilty about all the eating and drinking you will be doing this Thanksgiving.

9.-No excuses, you have to exercise the next day. Even if you decide to go Black Friday shopping at 4:00AM, it is no justification for skipping your workout after the holiday. If you want to stay on track with your health and fitness goals, you cannot push off another workout because it’s a holiday, the day or week after the holiday.

10.-Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and hot beverages to flush out your system as best you can. The water retention that may be experienced from an increased intake of sodium on Thanksgiving can be resolved through the flushing out of your system; you can help cleanse toxins as well.

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