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Nourishing Traditions: Tips for a healthy Thanksgiving

Written by Kassy Montgomery, RDN, CDCES on November 8, 2023

Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday filled with warmth, gratitude, and a whole lot of delicious food! As a dietitian, I believe that celebrating this special day doesn't mean you have to abandon your healthy eating habits. In fact, it offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a balanced and mindful feast that nourishes both your body and your soul. In this blog post, we'll explore Thanksgiving tips to savor the holiday while maintaining your health and well-being.

Begin with Gratitude

Before diving into the delicious Thanksgiving spread, take a moment to reflect on the essence of the holiday - gratitude. Being thankful for the food on your plate, the loved ones around you, and the gift of life itself sets a positive tone for the meal. A grateful heart can also guide you towards making mindful food choices.

Prioritize Portion Control

One key to a healthy Thanksgiving is portion control. Remember, it's not about depriving yourself but rather about enjoying the holiday meal in moderation. Use smaller plates, serve reasonable portions, and avoid overloading your plate.

Focus on Lean Proteins

Turkey, the star of the Thanksgiving show, is a lean source of protein. Load your plate with turkey, but skip the skin, which contains most of the fat. Protein helps with satiety and muscle repair, making it an essential component of your Thanksgiving feast.

Load Up on Colorful Veggies

Fill your plate with a colorful array of vegetables. Roasted or steamed vegetables like Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and green beans provide essential nutrients and fiber. They are not only delicious but also balance out the meal's richer components.

Healthier Side Dishes

Transform traditional side dishes into healthier versions. Use whole grains for stuffing, opt for lighter mashed potatoes, and make cranberry sauce with less sugar. Experiment with herbs and spices for flavor instead of excessive fats or salt.

Smart Gravy Choices

When it comes to gravy, prepare it with low-sodium broth and skim off any visible fat. This reduces the calorie and sodium content while retaining the flavor.

Mindful Eating

Eating mindfully can help you savor your meal and prevent overindulgence. Chew slowly, engage in conversation, and listen to your body's hunger cues. This mindful approach can lead to better digestion and enjoyment.

Hydration Matters

Don't forget about hydration. Water is essential for overall well-being, and drinking it before and during your meal can help control your appetite.

Be Dessert Smart

While dessert is a delightful part of Thanksgiving, choose your sweet treats wisely. Opt for healthier dessert options, like fruit salad or a crustless pumpkin pie sweetened with natural ingredients.

Get Active

After your meal, consider a family walk or a game of touch football to get moving. Physical activity can help with digestion and balance the indulgence of the holiday.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and be with the ones we love.. With thoughtful choices, portion control, and a focus on gratitude, you can enjoy the holiday without feeling guilty or compromising your health goals. Remember, Thanksgiving is not about perfection but about appreciating the abundance of life, love, and, of course, wholesome food. Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

For more tips and tricks to make your holidays healthy this year, schedule with our in house registered dietitian, Kassy Montgomery, RDN, CDCES

Article written by Kassy Montgomery, RDN, CDCES

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