Enjoy a Healthy Thanksgiving!

November 14, 2016

Make smart choices for a healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and celebration. Unfortunately, several staples of such festivities include dishes, drinks and desserts that can negatively affect your wellness goals.

There’s nothing wrong with indulging a little to celebrate Thanksgiving, but here are some simple ways to keep yourself in check on such a food-centric holiday.

Plan to walk

  • Dress in layers and wear your tennis shoes
  • Walking briskly after your meal is best, but any time is beneficial
  • Use a pedometer or other type of fitness tracker to monitor your steps

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. If you have trouble finding 30 minutes after one mealtime, consider trying to add 10 or 15 minutes of exercise to your morning routine, after lunch and after dinner.

Focus on family and friends, not food

  • Don’t mingle around the food. Eat and leave the room
  • Play charades, board games or cards
  • Make the dog happy by tossing a frisbee or ball
  • Help set the table
  • Help clean the dishes
  • Volunteer to make coffee or tea for guests after the meal

Remember that the holidays are a great time to reconnect with those you don’t normally get to see. Being social and focusing on family and friends can help you pace yourself during mealtimes.

Healthy fall foods

  • Spices: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg (add to baked fruit)
  • Pears/apples: spread with pumpkin seed butter; add to spinach, goat cheese, & pecan salad
  • Acorn Squash: bake with cinnamon
  • Pomegranate: add juice to marinades; add seeds to salads
  • Brussels Sprouts: roast with balsamic vinegar; sauté with parmesan and pine nuts
  • Corn
  • Turkey: choose mostly white meat and remove skin for optimal health benefits

Making healthy food options a priority on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that you have to snub the stuffing or refuse a slice of grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. Make the majority of your dinner plate healthful, nutrient dense foods with protein and fiber to keep from overindulging on high-calorie options.

If you’re looking for more perspective, the USDA’s  Choose MyPlate resource is a great tool to plan meals and better understand portion control.

Be well all holiday season

Columbia Association offers a variety of group fitness classes and personal training options to help you enhance your overall health and quality of life. Learn more about CA’s health and fitness services here.

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