I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. My kids tell me I feel that way because it is the only holiday when I get to be a guest, not a host. And although there is some truth to that, there are so many other reasons I love this day.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to take stock of the many blessings in my life. Surrounded by my husband, children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and other extended family, it is easy for me to feel thankful. I am so grateful for my wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home that I get to work from, and a career that is more of a passion than a job. And in an effort to make sure the Thanksgiving feast doesn’t sabotage your health goals, I am excited to send you these tips. I hope you enjoy them and have a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving!
Tips to Make Thanksgiving a Happy & Healthy Day
Take exceptional care of yourself in the days leading up to the holiday. Eat well, get enough sleep, keep sweets to a minimum, and maintain your exercise routine. Even if you are busy with preparations, stop right now and schedule an exercise break each day on your calendar, even if it is only twenty minutes.
Figure out some ways to make your life a little easier, or do so for your host. If the holiday is at your home, ask a few of your guests to bring a dish you know they either love to prepare, or could easily pick up. They will feel honored that you asked. Instead of making the cranberry sauce that takes hours to prepare, purchase it from the local gourmet shop. If you are a guest, offer to prepare a specialty dish you enjoy making, or bring a dessert.
If you are not busy in the kitchen, plan an exercise session Thanksgiving morning. Perhaps an early morning bike ride, a trip to the gym, or walk in your town could become a new family Thanksgiving tradition.
Enlist the help of family members to watch over the kitchen or set the table while you take a twenty-minute break before the company arrives. Close your eyes for a power nap, take a bath, or meditate; whatever will make you feel relaxed and ready to greet your guests.
Eat a substantial, healthy breakfast in the morning, and a healthy snack before the festivities begin. Don’t show up hungry, or you’ll surely overindulge.
Look over the entire buffet before making your choices. Research has proven the more variety, the more calories we tend to consume. Only take small portions of the dishes you love, and skip those that are tradition but not really your favorites.
Ask your hostess for small portions to take home of your favorite dishes, rather than overeating them on Thanksgiving. She will be flattered, and you’ll get to truly savor the dish when you are not stuffed and uncomfortable.
Shift your focus away from the food, and towards the people who surround you. Engage in conversations with others who are farther away from the buffet table, eat your food slowly, and stop when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. Remember what the day is really about. An opportunity to count your blessings and enjoy your loved ones.