The traditions of Thanksgiving are special—gathering with family and friends, preparing and planning the meal and giving thanks for all the good things in life.
Typically, good health is neglected as we eat too much, ditch our exercise program and sit for hours in front of the television. But, making a few changes can allow you to enjoy the holiday while still respecting your healthy body.
Consider a local fun run for a festive, physical start to the day. Organize a group of family or friends and start a new tradition. Even the more sedentary may welcome an active start to the day.
Not up for a race? Plan to meet in the forest preserve or along the lake for a run or walk. An encounter with nature will surely make you appreciate all in your life. Exercise and being outside may be just the neutralizer you need for a strained family relation.
Don’t save up your hunger for dinner and overeating. Eat a complete, healthy breakfast focusing on whole grains, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Include a snack, and a light lunch. Drink plenty of water during the day, especially as dinner approaches. Water provides a sense of fullness and helps prevent overeating. Eating well earlier in the day will help stave off hunger when the big meal presents itself. You will enjoy the dinner, eat slower and stick with reasonable portions.
For dinner, plan on one plateful rather than refilling several times. If healthy items won’t be included, bring a spinach salad and indulge with a big serving. Stick with the turkey breast meat and take just a taste of butter-laden side dishes. Eat the dishes that resemble the original food they were named after. Introduce a new recipe to your traditional fare by preparing a homemade cranberry relish or sweet potato casserole.
Put your fork down after every bite. You will savor your food, fill up more quickly, eat less and participate more fully in conversations. The Thanksgiving turkey is so delicious, cranberry relish so tart, sweet potatoes so creamy—don’t miss out on enjoying these once-a-year dishes because you dashed to the finish.
Plan a brisk walk before dessert. Blame it on the dog. Get everyone bundled up and take a walk down the lantern lit streets or through town. The fresh air will elevate everyone’s moods (not that there will be any family strife!) and will unstuff that overstuffed feeling.
Have a happy, healthy and active Thanksgiving!