Thanksgiving is a day of love, traditions, family, gratitude, and many joyful meals, and everyone loves the happiness that comes with the celebration.
Although the occasion happens once a year, people with pre-existing health conditions may worry about how the rich fatty foods and partying affect their health, which could influence their choices and attitudes during the celebration.
This means staying healthy on Thanksgiving Day can pose a challenge for those with conditions such as diabetes and heart and cardiovascular challenges.
However, Thanksgiving should not be a day of limitations and restrictions.
You don’t have to miss out on all the fun and joy; you can have a wonderful, healthy thanksgiving celebration without worrying about damaging your physical health or, worse, ending up in the emergency room.
Do you have a pre-existing health condition, or are you worried about weight gain? Follow these tips on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving to stay safe as you celebrate.
Choose Healthy Thanksgiving Meals
Celebrating Thanksgiving healthily is all about the activities you engage in and, most importantly, what you eat.
Wondering how to eat healthy on Thanksgiving? It starts with how you prepare your meals and what you put on your plate.
However, planning for healthy Thanksgiving meals doesn’t mean you should have bland recipes.
Here are a few ways to achieve a healthy Thanksgiving meal and have fun while at it.
Seek Out and Prepare Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Whether you are hosting or taking dishes over to the neighbors, whole, nutritious foods are a sure way to go.
You can even make this a fun activity with the family by looking up healthy meal tips online and trying them out together.
As long as you use a healthy Thanksgiving recipe, you’ve cut down on most of the risks you worry about.
For instance, since turkey is a lean protein, you can add more nutritious side dishes to the menu.
You can include the following in your recipe:
- Side dishes made from vegetables and whole grains, such as carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and broccoli.
- Mashed or roasted potatoes
- Greek yogurt and nuts.
Fill Your Plate with Vegetables
Yes, Vegetables. Vegetables add color to your plate and help you enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving.
In fact, including vegetables in your daily meals decreases the risk of obesity and heart disease and regulates your blood pressure.
So, here’s an opportunity to add various vegetables to your Thanksgiving menu.
A little Less Seasoning
Thanksgiving is that day when we typically want the turkey well-seasoned and salted. But often, we could overdo it.
While salt is essential to the body, high sodium from salt consumption may lead to a catastrophic holiday.
According to a CDC news report, over 90% of Americans consume too much sodium through salt and seasoning.
The consumption of excess sodium (from salt) leads to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Excess amounts of salt also increase stress level and worsen pre-existing heart conditions.
So, before adding that extra salt or seasoning sprinkle, please be careful, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
Consider Healthier Ingredient Alternatives
Eating healthy on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean eating boring, but rather making adjustments to what you eat.
If you are wondering about the healthy ingredients you can add to your meals this Thanksgiving, consider these options:
- Use low-sodium salt for seasoning your meals.
- Utilize plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in your creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
- Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
- Reduce the amount of oil and butter used in making your meals.
- Use fruit purees instead of oil in baked meals.
- Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar.
Follow Thanksgiving Health Tips
Now that we know how to prepare a healthy Thanksgiving meal, let’s look at a few tips and activities to ensure we stay healthy the entire day.
Keep Your Body Moving
Physical activity not only builds the body but aids digestion as well. It is also a great bonding activity you should add to your healthy thanksgiving plans.
So, on Thanksgiving morning, getting the family physically active, playing, and having fun with outdoor activities is a wonderful way to start the day.
If you are spending Thanksgiving with your neighbors or friends, ditching the car for a walk before and after meals is also another good way to have a healthy Thanksgiving.
After dinner, you could also indulge in a backyard football game with the neighbors.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Many people tend to skip breakfast and lunch in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t do that if enjoying a healthy Thanksgiving is a priority for you.
Skipping meals sounds like a great idea to reduce your calorie intake, right? Except when you skip breakfast and lunch, you increase your chances of eating a heavy dinner.
Instead of skipping meals, you could opt for healthy breakfast foods like nuts, a salad with avocados, protein shakes, Greek yogurt, or eggs – so you don’t arrive at the dinner table starving.
Arriving at the dinner table starving reduces your self-control, making you want to eat more than you should in one meal or even eat what’s bad for your health.
With all the cooking, playing, and socializing happening on Thanksgiving, it is quite easy to forget to drink water. And dehydration can lead to a handful of effects, including fatigue and stress.
Drinking water helps you reduce the quantity of food you consume and reduces the calorie intake you will get from drinking the popular fizzy drinks and soda on Thanksgiving.
So, this Thanksgiving, remember to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, as it is a healthier option for your body.
To make it less boring, you can spice up your water with slices of watermelon, lemon, or cucumber.
Cut Down on the Alcohol
Reaching for an extra glass of wine or booze during Thanksgiving may seem appealing, but it can add up your calories quickly.
Not only does alcohol intake increase the calories you consume, but excess alcohol also leads to several health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, liver conditions, and several types of cancer.
So why drink more if you already suffer from any of these conditions?
To reduce the risk of alcohol damage to the body, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults should remove alcohol consumption entirely if they can, or at least drink in moderation if they must drink alcohol.
For adults who choose to consume alcohol, they recommend no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Limiting your alcohol intake this Thanksgiving will not only save you from the extra holiday weight but also from causing damage to your body.
Savor your food and chew slowly. While this might sound like regular advice, it is quite difficult to resist eating between mouthfuls — especially when there’s a colorful array of food on your plate.
Instead, deliberately control your pace by putting your fork down after each bite to give yourself time to chew your food properly. Doing this also lets your body know when you are full and avoid overeating.
Opt for a Healthier Dessert
There’s no Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, cookies, and cupcakes for dessert.
A tip for healthy Thanksgiving desserts is to substitute most of the sugar and cream for healthier options like nuts and low-fat yogurt.
If you are baking, you can use a little less sugar and butter in your mix to give you a healthier meal.
Also, you can cut down the pie crust, so it’s more about the filling.
Watch Your Portions
As we’ve mentioned, overeating is bad.
Controlling how much food you have on your plate at each moment gives you more control over how much food you eat.
Though it’s tempting, try to avoid having everything on your plate at a time.
Also, you can use a smaller plate that gives you enough breadth to taste as much as you want but limits you from having too much on your plate at once.
Remember, it’s Thanksgiving, and you should stay healthy as you have fun.
Get Plenty of Rest
Sleep is a fundamental part of our well-being. Even though it’s not getting the proper attention it deserves, it is essential for your mental, physical, and sexual health.
Not getting enough sleep can affect our emotions and increase our chances of stress.
When stressed, most people tend to binge on food, losing all their dietary goals, and preparing for Thanksgiving can be stressful.
So, it is important that you take enough time to rest in between activities and get enough sleep at night.
Enjoy a Healthy Thanksgiving with Craft Medical
Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us at Craft Medicals. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to spend with your family and friends, and we hope you enjoy the holiday.
With so much celebration and food going around, we want to ensure you enjoy your festivities as stress-free as possible and take charge of your health
At Craft Medicals, we are modern, trusted, and accessible men’s health specialists who prioritize putting men’s health first.
Do you need health services, consultations, or tips on improving your health? Click the link below to start a personalized health plan with us.