5 Tips to Tackling Turkey Day in a Healthier Way

| by Mitzi Dulan

Thanksgiving…it is one of the most enjoyable times of the year when we get to eat, drink and be merry.

Unfortunately, for many, this can be one of the most stressful events, too. How can we enjoy the celebration without worrying about over-eating? Food is an important aspect of this holiday and celebrating traditions. Try these healthy tips to celebrate with nutritious style and less stress!

1. Enjoy the food
Allow yourself to taste foods you like. Restricting food may set you up for binging later on. In fact, new research shows that when we get some richer foods in a balanced meal, we feel more satisfied than when we don’t get any.

2. Stay in control of YOU – eliminate “expectations”
Peer pressure can come to an all-time high during the holidays. If people don’t see you eating as much as they are, they can feel as though you are not joining in on the fun. Be prepared. Have something in your hand, such as a glass of water, so you are not standing idle. If someone says something, just be polite and say no thank you.

3. Don’t go hungry
Fasting all day until the big meal often leads to one thing: overeating. A good breakfast not only gives you energy for the day, but also can prevent constant snacking or over-indulging on turkey and dressing. Try eating a healthy snack beforehand, such as fruit or veggies and dip, so you are not famished once the meal is ready.

4. Keep moving
Just because it’s the holidays does not mean you should take a break on your exercise routine. Just as you block time out to make the stuffing, block time out for you to get your workout in. Resist the urge to sprawl out on the couch after eating. Instead, help with the dishes or take a walk with the family. Keeping busy will help burn extra calories and aid in digestion.

5. Have a plan
Once mealtime arrives, glance at the food table and take note of what’s available. Fill your plate with healthier options first and monitor your fullness. Also, think about what you have put on your plate. Mentally noting what you are eating will help you be aware of how much you are consuming.

Thanksgiving meal tips:
Winter squash such as butternut or acorn are great Thanksgiving foods. They are very high in potassium, but when mixed with butter and brown sugar, the health benefits are negated. Instead, use a little cinnamon or nutmeg and bake it. The squash’s natural sweetness will excite your palate.

Cranberries are another Thanksgiving classic and are full of antioxidants. Skip the canned sauce and make your own with fresh cranberries. Mix them with diced apples and a dollop of honey to produce a healthy, tasty relish.

Finally, the turkey! When filling your plate, grab the skinless, white meat to load up on vitamin B6, niacin and zinc and get a tasty lean protein.

Research assistance provided by Ashley Ingram