Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-type-meal1Thanksgiving is hands down one of my favorite holidays.  I love having the whole family in one place and a table full of good food.  It is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!


However, I do know that with the joy of Thanksgiving comes the stress.  Usually the stress comes from trying to avoid overindulging on many foods that are high fat and high calorie.  But I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way!  There are many ways you can enjoy this holiday while being mindful.  Everyone seems to think that Thanksgiving dishes have to be loaded with fat, but that’s not the case!


Mindful Eating


Engaging in mindful eating can be the perfect way to help you enjoy the holiday.  Here are three tips to keep you mindful.


  1. Stay fully conscious. It’s easy to lose yourself in all the food, conversation and football. If you maintain an awareness of your food choices, amount of food you are serving yourself and eating you can avoid overindulging.  This can be difficult in a social situation, but if you set your intentions out in the morning, you can do it!
  1. Serve small portions. With a holiday that only comes once a year, you can easily serve yourself large portions of your favorite dishes. You may even fall prey to “my eyes are bigger than my stomach”.  Start with small portions to avoid overeating yet still satisfies your craving.  If you are still hungry you could always go for seconds.
  1. Listen to your body. Many of us may belong to the “clean your plate club” but you don’t have to! Listen to your body’s inner signals as you are getting satiated.  Stop eating when you feel comfortable, you can always wrap up the rest of your food on your plate.   If you do this, you will be able to enjoy the homemade apple pie without the need to unbuckle your belt.


Recipe Modifications


Just because you would like to have a healthful Thanksgiving, does not mean you have to give up your favorite dishes.  Instead, you can swap out some of the less healthy ingredients for healthier ingredients.  Here are a few tips:


  • Sweet Potato Casserole – This is a tradition at my house. Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows? But, the marshmallows are not a necessity.  Instead, you can top the sweet potatoes with raisins, chopped pecans and a small handful of mini marshmallows.  This way you won’t miss the sweet melted topping, but it now is a lighter dish.
  • Mashed Potatoes – Do you normally take all the skin off and use whole milk when making mashed potatoes? Instead, leave the skin on and use low-fat or soy milk.  I promise you it will still taste delicious, but with less fat and more nutrients.
  • Salt – In many traditional dishes, salt is a staple. However, it isn’t the only seasoning that can be used to add flavor.  Try adding other herbs in place of salt, such as thyme or parsley.
  • Sour Cream – Do you serve baked potatoes topped with sour cream at your Thanksgiving dinner? Swap out the sour cream for Greek yogurt and add a sprinkle of scallions for more flavor!


Still looking for more ways to have a healthful Thanksgiving?  Start your day off with a long morning walk to kick-start your body.  Also, don’t forget to eat breakfast!  This will keep you satisfied and help you avoid heading into dinner starving.


Check out this article for tips on how to have a safe Thanksgiving.


Your Turn to Take Action:  What recipe modifications will you make?  Let me know in the comments below!


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