6 Secrets to a Healthier Thanksgiving

6 Secrets to a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Let the eating begin. 

Thanksgiving opens the door for all the massive amount of feasting that we so enjoy. I feel like I eat non-stop from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Do you feel like it’s non-stop food week-after-week?

In fact, we’ll begin this week when we attend our downtown Christmas crawl. Every merchant will beckon us to try cookies, appetizers and drinks galore for an evening of walking through downtown. So much fun.

I met with my daughters earlier today and we made our menu for Thanksgiving, only to admit that we’ll have more food than we can possibly eat.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

How do we manage to maintain our healthy goals and enjoy the holiday food binge?   

I’ve spoken to so many of my clients about what their biggest health struggle is over the holidays, and inevitably, food is a huge one.  You feel like you undo all of your hard work throughout the year in these last few months, only to start the new year off with new plans of getting your health in order again.  And many of us stay on that cycle for our whole lives. 

Sound familiar?

I want you to feel like this year is different. Instead of throwing all caution to the wind and waiting for the new year to roll around, I want to help you find your perfect balance of feeling on track and still enjoying the heck out of those yummy holiday dishes.

That’s why you should make sure to incorporate these little secret healthy hacks into your Thanksgiving to survive the holiday season.

Here’s my list of 6 secret weapons that allow me to enjoy the holiday and not gain the typical 7 to 10 pounds….


Take a Walk

Instead of just lounging all day waiting for the big meal to arrive on the table, go for a walk.  Actually, my favorite way to start Thanksgiving day is with a morning walk.  It helps to set the tone for the day and feels great to start the day with some fresh air.  In fact, involve your relatives and make it a family affair by taking a long stroll after the big meal, as well.  Not only is it relaxing and good quality time, but it will also help you digest your food better.


Eat Your Breakfast

You may think you’re heading things off at the pass by not eating breakfast, however by the time you get to that big Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be so hungry you’ll likely overeat. Make a healthy breakfast choice, and have a hearty salad for lunch. It will keep your blood sugar balanced so you won’t become too hungry, and you’ll have made great choices all day and can indulge a little at Thanksgiving dinner.


Lookout for that Gravy Bowl

Gravy is one of the things we look forward to at Thanksgiving — a little extra flavor we don’t typically have throughout the year.  However, be mindful of what you use to portion your gravy on your plate.  A large ladle can rack up an extra 800 calories, just for the ladle of gravy.  Instead, grab a tablespoon and drizzle your gravy onto your plate. By using this hack, you’ll still get to enjoy everything else and get your gravy too — guilt free.


Bring a Healthy Side

If you’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, make your side dish something healthy. There are lots of tasty options that everyone will love — make a salad with homemade dressing, or bake sweet potatoes and dress them with sprinkles of cinnamon.  These are incredibly simple and loved by all, so you can’t go wrong with either.  You could also look up healthy Thanksgiving side items on Pinterest to find something a little fancier if you love spending time in the kitchen whipping up new things!

Here’s a healthy side to enjoy:

Savor those desserts

Dessert Table

This is not a free license to eat everything on the dessert table, however, if your grandma makes the best pumpkin pie, make sure you ration yourself some room to enjoy a small piece. See lots you want to try? Then take bite-sized samples of each, then sit and truly savor them. Don’t overdo it, but enjoy those desserts you only get to have a few days per year.


Watch Your Portions

When filling up your plate, load it up with veggies first, then the rest. When you make the majority of your plate veggies, you’ll feel fuller without feeling overstuffed. Plus, that gives you room to enjoy that dessert you’ve been pining for too.


Thanksgiving should be a relaxing holiday that you enjoy, but having a few boundaries for you to follow to keep up your healthy lifestyle will go a long way.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? 

Ours consist of having extended family over, sitting around the fire-pit chatting away, drinking lots of hot apple cider and having tables loaded with delicious food.

Share your favorite Thanksgiving tradition in the comments – I always love reading what others hold near and dear to their hearts this holiday!

Join our members Facebook group – Healthy Living for Life, where we can support each other through this holiday season. See you there.




Dessert photo credit: 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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