How to have a healthy Thanksgiving

Mother taking turkey out of the oven

Thanksgiving is a great time for gathering the three Fs – friends, family and food. The last, food, is a double-edged sword. It’s so easy to over-indulge in what is arguably Americans favorite eating holiday, but these healthy Thanksgiving tips can help.

“A delicious Thanksgiving spread can act like kryptonite for even the most calorie-conscious eaters,” Banner Health dietitian Chrystine Cherry says. “The typical person consumes 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day. That’s roughly two and three times the recommended daily allowances, respectively.”

Cherry adds that, along with feeling uncomfortably full and on the verge of a food coma, over-indulging can also pose health risks. These include an increased risk of a heart attack, gallbladder problems, diabetic complications and drowsiness or alcohol-related traffic accidents.

To help you avoid some common pitfalls of holiday gluttony, she provides some easy tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving Day feast without fear.

Healthy Thanksgiving tips

  • Stay or become active.
  • Start or increase your exercise routine leading up to Thanksgiving and remain active through the holiday season.
  • Eat breakfast. Sitting down to a meal with an empty stomach significantly increases the likelihood that you will overeat. A small morning meal can curb your appetite and help you control the amount and frequency of your portions.
  • Drink plenty of water. Along with keeping you hydrated and making your stomach feel full, drinking water can limit your alcohol consumption, and the calories that come with it.
  • Choose your portions wisely. Keeping your portions small, relatively low in fat and calories, and reasonably healthy allows you to sample more of the foods you love.
  • Eat slowly. With all the tasty food in front of you, it’s easy to want to dig in. However, savoring your food by eating slowly allows you to feel full before diving into a second helping.
  • Be thankful for your health and learning how to stay healthy!

This post was originally published November 4, 2016.

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