We’re so excited to have Liz Greenlaw, a certified Health Coach, back and blogging for us this month! To kick off the Holiday season, she’s giving us some tips on how to indulge in Thanksgiving the healthy way! Be sure to check out her healthy twist on a Thanksgiving dish!
How to Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving
Ever since I became a Health Coach, I’ve been a little worried that someday my family will boycott Thanksgiving at my house. It’s always a tough holiday, because it’s all about food, food, and more food!
But how you approach the holidays is a personal choice. For some of us, this is one of those “treat” days where we eat what we want, without guilt, knowing we’ll be back on our mindful eating path the following day. For others, particularly if you are trying to lose weight or live healthier, you certainly don’t want to start a “season of overeating.”
So here are a few of the tips I like to share this time of year:
- Try Thanksgiving grazing. Load your plate with vegetables and lean turkey (the protein from the turkey will keep you feeling satisfied for hours). When the rest of the dishes and desserts are passed, choose one or two that you really want, but put just a spoonful of each on your plate – not an entire serving – think of it like a workout and pace yourself! That way, you will get a taste of the holiday foods you love most, without overeating or feeling deprived. (Two foods I always skip are white potatoes and bread, since they have little nutritional value. What foods are you willing to skip this year?)
- Try alternatives, not abstinence. I’ve roasted sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg instead of marshmallows for a lighter, healthier dish that still shouts “Thanksgiving!” This year, maybe you can try making something like my Farro, Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with Pomegranate Seeds to serve as a hearty grain salad in place of stuffing.
- Don’t drink your calories. You don’t have to imbibe spirits to get into the spirit! Why not try having a glass of red wine with dinner, then switch to sparkling water with lemon? This year, I’m going to muddle fresh raspberries and drop them into my water glass, stir, and sip!
- Take a step back and consider your emotions. Remember, Thanksgiving kicks off a “season of eating” – but only if you let it. Food temptation is only one stress of the holidays. House guests, family dynamics, and travel – these can all send you running to the refrigerator. Try to be aware of your relationship with food and how you feel after indulging. Headache? Bloated? Exhausted? Moody? Why ruin your holiday by not feeling your best? Reducing or eliminating sugar and processed foods will help you avoid these symptoms, feel better and have more energy.
- Don’t throw it all away. Even if you do over-indulge on Thanksgiving Day, remember: it’s just one day. Don’t throw away all of your hard-earned health and wellness by turning one day into a long-weekend marathon of eating. Stock up on disposable containers and send guests home with all of the leftovers, or find out if a shelter will let you bring uneaten pies, cakes and casseroles (you can’t eat it if it’s not in your house!)
- Find other ways to enjoy the holidays. Bundle up and take a brisk walk after the big Thanksgiving meal (or if you’re feeling ambitious, run a Turkey Trot!) Pull out the board games and close down the kitchen. Build a fire and tell stories, or watch old family videos (remember those?) Another idea is to go around the table and share with your guests what you are most thankful for this year. It will give everyone a chance to slow down for a minute and remember what the holiday is truly all about: Giving Thanks.
*What are some of the things that you do to survive the holidays and stay healthy? Do you make dish substitutes or run a Turkey Trot? Or do you treat it as a one day splurge and get right back to your healthy routine the very next day? Please share with others by commenting below!
If you would like supportive, expert one-on-one support to help reach your health or weight goals, please email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org today!