Having a Happy (and Healthy) Thanksgiving

Submitted by: Elizabeth Hammet, Esperança Intern

Loved ones gathered around the table laughing, eating, and enjoying each other's company…. this what comes to mind when I think of Thanksgiving.

Sometimes the holidays are the only time we are able to be in the presence of all of our loved ones together; it is truly a time to cherish.

I know most of us are guilty of using Thanksgiving as a time to disregard everything we know about healthy eating – myself included. There is nothing I love more than loading my plate up with mashed potatoes and stuffing. That being said, there are some tips we can follow to avoid feeling guilty without the sacrificing indulging in our favorite traditions.

  1. First and foremost, when preparing your dishes try to reduce the amount of fats, sugars, and calories in the ingredients that make up your recipes. Try substituting a fat-free chicken broth or sour cream when preparing dishes like gravy, mashed potatoes, or casseroles. In the end this will create a healthier dish without sacrificing taste.
  2. The next tip, while I know it's difficult, is to limit portion sizes. It helps to divide your plate in half and fill one side of the plate with veggies and/or fruit while leaving the other side to carbs and proteins. I know everyone postpones eating until the big Thanksgiving feast, but it is also easier to manage portions if we eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will help us from overeating when we see all that delicious food in front of us.
  3. My last tip to you all is to be active for one hour! Every year after Thanksgiving dinner my family rounds up all the kids and dogs and we go on a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. I know relaxing on the couch after a big meal can be so tempting but being active is a great way to aid digestion, avoid feeling overfull and spend quality time with your family.

I hope that using these easy tips you are able to have a happy and healthier Thanksgiving and are able to spend time with your loved ones. Happy Holidays!

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