7 Tips For a Lighter Thanksgiving
Lots of us eat a whole heap of food every Thanksgiving and have huge regrets afterwards. It’s not uncommon for thousands of calories to be consumed over Thanksgiving. Scary stuff, right?
It’s super common for traditional Thanksgiving dishes to be hugely unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to bypass them completely.
If you want this Thanksgiving to be different, there’s a lot you can do to switch things up and enjoy a healthier celebration.
Focus On Family Time
For lots of families, Thanksgiving is one of the few times that everyone gets together. Make quality time together the main focus of Thanksgiving and have food as a secondary focus.
How often do you skip breakfast (and maybe lunch too) because you’re saving yourself for later on?
“Saving” calories might seem like a super sensible move, but it’s more likely to lead to over indulging as the day wears on.
Eating a filling breakfast packed with fiber and protein can help keep your appetite in check for the main event. Healthy fats are great for this too.
Think omelette, avocado toast, or oatmeal drizzled with nut butter, for example.
You can be more selective with what you eat since you won’t be super ravenous and wanting to eat everything in sight. You’ll likely find it a lot easier to exercise portion control and avoid overeating. And you’ll feel a lot less guilty the next day!
There’s another bonus too. Eating a hearty breakfast helps get your metabolism going, which can help burn calories. This makes it a little bit less likely that the foods you eat will be stored as fat since your body will find it easier to burn them off.
Make Thanksgiving Dishes Lighter and Healthier
Thanksgiving dishes don’t have to be super unhealthy. There’s a ton you can do to make them lighter (and healthier) without compromising on taste or losing the magic of Thanksgiving.
A few tips you can try include:
Trim the fat off the turkey — it’s super high in fat and adds a whole heap of calories.
Add a ton of veggies to your plate to help fill you up and add nutrition.
Reduce the amount of fat and sugar you use in recipes.
Swap sugar for sugar alternatives.
Hold back on the canned cranberry sauce — it’s another sugar-rich culprit, even if it seems healthier than dessert! Try making your own instead to get nutritional benefits.
Use quinoa in stuffing.
With a few healthier twists on Thanksgiving favorites, you can still enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie (or another dessert of your choice) with no guilt and significantly cut down on your calorie intake. Chances are, no-one will notice the difference if you make healthy swaps.
Introduce Healthier Side Dishes
If you’re worried that there won’t be any healthy options for Thanksgiving, bringing your own side dish is an easy way to stay healthy and avoid overindulging on unhealthy options.
You can make vegetables the main focus of a healthy side dish or use fruits or veggies to replace less healthy ingredients.
As well as being able to control what you eat, it also gives you the flexibility to add something unhealthy alongside traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
Listen to Your Body
Once you’ve eaten a reasonable amount, you’re likely not actually hungry anymore.
If you’ve eaten a ton of food in a short space of time, these signals may not be picked up — especially given that it takes around 20 minutes for these types of hunger cues to make themselves known.
Chat with your family for 15-20 minutes and then check in with yourself to get a handle on your hunger. Before you reach for yet another helping of anything, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. You’ll likely find that you’re actually pretty full and would just be consuming extra calories.
Move Away From the Table
When you’re done eating, carry on the social side of things away from the table. You’ll avoid eating more calories when you’re not really hungry. Move the gathering to another room and continue spending quality time together.
Being a bit more active over the holidays helps burn off some of the extra calories and Thanksgiving is no exception to this.
Doing a workout before you start indulging gives you a chance to burn off calories before you dig in.
Or you can go out for a walk after eating and enjoy some meaningful catch-ups with family at the same time.
Now that you have these healthy tips in hand, get ready for a Thanksgiving your body will be extra thankful for!