4 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Healthier

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and chances are you’re already planning your holiday meal or at least daydreaming about all the turkey and pie you’re about to eat! While this time of year is all about enjoying time with family and indulging in good food, it’s often tempting to over eat. We want to you to be able to enjoy this special holiday without overdoing it.

Here are four ways to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving while keeping active and healthy:

  1. Start your day off with exercise and work up an appetite.
    Take a quick walk with your relatives or play football in the yard with the kids before you sit down for turkey. Being active as a family not only allows you to spend time together on this holiday but also allows you to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal You also end up balancing the extra calories with physical activity. Many communities have Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving morning. Check your local newspaper for listings.
  2. Make room for your favorite holiday treats.
    Decide what your favorite Thanksgiving dishes are that you only enjoy this time of year. You should be sure to enjoy those dishes, but you can balance by cutting back on other foods you enjoy all year round. For example, my family only prepares my favorite apple-cranberry casserole on Thanksgiving, so I make sure to enjoy it while I can, but I skip the dinner rolls that I eat on a more regular basis.
  3. Make healthier substitutions.
    Traditional Thanksgiving dishes tend to be high in fat, sugar, and sodium, but with a few tweaks, it’s easy to lighten up your favorite recipes. Pick a low-fat stock or gravy, and choose a low sodium stuffing. Swap plain yogurt in creamy dishes for sour cream. Sometimes in fruit pie or crumble fillings, you can reduce the amount of sugar slightly without greatly altering the flavor. And choose whole grains when possible! There are lots of light recipe ideas online these days.
  4. Rethink your drink.
    Alcohol is often enjoyed with the Thanksgiving meal, but it’s easy to consume a lot of empty calories by drinking too much. Watch how much you drink or try mixing sparkling water with wine to make a lower calorie spritzer.
Lauren Wright

Lauren Wright works with both the HYPE Project and Let’s Go! SC. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Winthrop University. Previously, she earned her BA in Political Science at the University of Florida and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda.

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