Tips for Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday of the entire year. The food is AMAZING, but not only that, I love Thanksgiving because it is all about family. A whole day centered around being with those you love, and remembering how thankful you are for them and how much God has blessed you everyday because of the love and care that you experience through relationship. Isn’t that truly what life is about?

Last night Pete and I ate dinner (very impromptu) with one of the families in our village. They are a completely different culture than us, very poor, and yet they showed us love and willingly gave of the meager means that they had. It wasn’t stuffing, and turkey, but it was served with care and we left feeling; well, excepted. And that, even though we are hundreds of miles away from our family, made us feel like we are beginning to have “family” here in our small mountain community.

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These are some of the families’ kids and grandkids.

With that in mind, I wanted to encourage you to enjoy your Thanksgiving. Relish each moment with those you love. Each one is so precious.

I remember back when I started to eat healthier and exercise more, I used to go into the Thanksgiving meal with fantastic intentions of self control and leave the table feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, and just plain frustrated with myself. Since then I’ve learned and practice some healthy tips when it comes to holidays. Not only do they help me enjoy my Thanksgiving, keeping my focus on what’s truly important, but I get to enjoy my Madre’s stuffing, and homemade green bean casserole guilt free. :)

Healthy Tips for your Turkey Day:

1.) Eat Breakfast-  This may seem like strange logic since most often we try to strategically “save our calories” for the big show on holidays, but hear me out. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism, keep you from mindless snacking when hunger starts to set in, and keep you pleasantly full until the big meal. I’m not saying go out and have a belgian waffle covered in strawberries and whip cream, but something light with carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
 Try this:
– A bowl of plain greek yogurt w/ some Pumpkin Pie Granola on top, or a simple egg and pumpkin coconut muffin with almond butter.
– Fruit/Veggie smoothies are also great light breakfast options, add some protein powder for extra staying power.

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2.) Move – You are probably wondering, who has time to exercise on a holiday…YOU..yes, you do. :) Your gym maybe be closed for Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body to start the day. Not only will your metabolism be firing all day after your workout and burning up all those holiday calories, but you will feel energized, and ready to tackle all the play time with those crazy nieces & nephews.
Try this :
– 20 Minute Interval Workout or quickly tighten your tush with this 10 minute circuit.
– Go for a walk with a family member, getting in some quality chat time before all the craziness starts.
– Plan a 5K family fun run/walk on a nearby route or trail. Have hot coffee, and cider at the end and a healthy snack as an appetizer to the turkey dinner to come.

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3.) Drink Water – To make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day always aim to carry a glass with you. Often at parties or family gatherings we think we are hungry when the truth is our body is dehydrated and we are thirsty. Water is your combat weapon against mindless noshing.
Another tip: If you want to have a cocktail-like drink or something fun to sip, try some seltzer water with lime and a splash of cranberry juice. Refreshing and healthy.

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4.) Use a Smaller Plate – When dishing up your Thanksgiving dinner ask your hostess for a smaller plate. Studies show that people have been known to reduce their calorie intake by up to 30% by mindlessly choosing smaller portions just because their plate is smaller than a normal size dinner plate.

5.) Wait 5 Minutes – Finished eating and some more of Mom’s sweet potato casserole is whispering your name? Wait 5 minutes, sip some water, engage in conversation. After 5 minutes ask yourself, can I live without more of whatever it is that I want? If the craving is still peeling you out of your chair, get up and get more, if you feel satisfied, be done.

6.) Bring a “Non-Traditional” Bite Size Dessert – Not only will you wow the other guests at Thanksgiving dinner with your creative juices in the kitchen, but you now have an easy decision when it comes to dessert…already pre-portioned so you don’t over do it.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes 3
These mini pumpkin cheesecakes by Pinch my Salt look divine.

Or these truffles…adorable.
Pumpkin Pie Truffles
Or these…okay, I need to go bake something now.

Or if you don’t have time to make fancy little pastries and your not much of a pie gal (like me), drink your dessert. My favorite: a flavored coffee from a local coffee shop (like pumpkin spice or cranberry creme) topped with some fresh whipped cream. MMMmmm!

And last, but most important:

7.) Don’t Sweat It –  When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for family, friends, and all the blessings God has so unselfishly given us. So if you eat too much mashed potatoes, or stuffing (my downfall), don’t sweat it. Like anything in life making healthy choices in fitness and diet is a life-long learning process, and is based on long term consistency. Our healthy life style is not made or broken by any one success or failure…and I like to believe that if we don’t fail sometimes, we probably aren’t learning much at all.

Enjoy the hugs and warmth of loved ones this holiday…

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And Happy Thanksgiving!

Liesl

 

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