Even a turkey dinner can make a healthy Thanksgiving feast.Turkey Day is almost here! Thanksgiving is admittedly not a holiday we usually associate with good health. But while this November celebration is certainly a tempting time for indulgence, you don’t need to completely sacrifice your health and good habits to fully enjoy yourself this holiday. Just a few adjustments and a little planning is all it really takes to avoid the biggest Thanksgiving pitfalls this week. Here’s four of the easiest things you can do:

  1. Eat a balanced breakfast. As tempting as it is to fast until your lunch or dinnertime feast, it’s important to at least start the day off with a healthy, hearty breakfast. This, combined with (healthy!) snacking throughout the day, will help to curb your appetite and thereby help you to avoid overeating at the big meal. Not only does this mean fewer calories, but it’ll make it easier for your body to digest everything, helping you to feel less sluggish and keeping you in a better mood than you might be otherwise.
  2. Load up on the veggies. Thanksgiving is not a holiday that emphasizes vegetables so much as carbohydrates - and that’s a shame, because they can really make a difference in your Thanksgiving intake. Rather than filling up your plate with Thanksgiving’s more unhealthy staples, we recommend starting out with a nice serving of vegetables. This means filling up 2/3 of your first plate with vegetables, at least - and the more colorful the collection of vegetables you eat, the better. Not only will this help to make your Thanksgiving feast more nutritious, but it’ll help you fill up more quickly - and, again, will help you to avoid overeating at the big meal.
  3. Go easy on the seconds, the sweets, and the trimmings. If you’re really worried about what you’re eating on Thanksgiving, minimizing how much of these three things you indulge in will go a long way in your healthy eating efforts. For example, before jumping at the chance to eat a second serving of anything, wait about 15 to 20 minutes - this is how long it takes for your brain to recognize when your stomach is full. As for the sweets, enjoy these in small amounts; just smaller piece of pie will likely satisfy your sweet tooth. And rather than drenching your food in gravy or other sauces, enjoy just a spoonful or two of each to cut back on calories, sodium, and more.
  4. Schedule a workout. We want to be clear here: any workouts that you squeeze in during your holiday should not become a hardcore effort to burn off your Thanksgiving feast. Remember, it’s officially the time of year where workouts and healthy eating are best utilized to maintain weight, rather than lose it. So use your workout as a chance to keep you health relatively on track - and as a reminder that you have a workout schedule to keep, even if you’re taking it a little easier to enjoy the holiday.

These basic tips can make a big difference on a day laden with calories and less-than-healthy dining options. In some cases, however, you may need to take more drastic steps to accommodate your specific health needs. If this is the case, and if you have questions about how to do this, please reach out to your Genesis Medical practice or physician. You’re also invited to contact us in the coming weeks to discuss any other holiday-related concerns. ‘Tis officially the season - and we want to help you make it a healthy one!