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5 Ways to Have a Healthier Thanksgiving

Written by Natasha Rentas - Team Village Connect

A family of six sit around the dinner table enjoying (presumably) thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving brings the promise of friends, family, and food, along with the guarantee that you will end the day laying on the couch in a food coma. Ultimately, the yearly post-Thanksgiving food coma isn't going to have a huge impact on your health. That said, it doesn't have to be this way. A healthier Thanksgiving is all about finding balance and taking care of your mind and body while appreciating the true spirit of the season. It's not about shaming or restricting yourself from indulging in Thanksgiving traditions; rather, it's about making choices that support your health. Are you wondering what that might look like? Read on to find out five ways you can have a healthier Thanksgiving!

1. Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast and going into Thanksgiving dinner on an empty stomach is not the healthiest way to start or end the day. Instead, start your healthy Thanksgiving by eating a balanced breakfast like Greek yogurt with fruit or an egg white omelet with loads of veggies. Eating breakfast will allow you to have greater control over your appetite later, and you won't be hangry all day long.

2. Move Your Body

Thanksgiving is set up to welcome physical activity as a new post-turkey tradition. After Thanksgiving dinner, round up your family and make an event out of a post-dinner walk. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is a great way for families to engage in physical activity and enjoy the holiday (not to mention you're bound to walk by some Christmas light displays!). You could also try to arrange a family-friendly game of football or another group sport. Remember that getting some steps in is not about burning calories; it's about moving your body for the sake of moving your body. It's also about spending quality time with your family.

3. Balanced Meal Planning

The road to a healthy Thanksgiving dinner is paved with thoughtful meal planning. Try to compose your plate from a variety of foods, including colorful vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and, of course, the traditional favorites like marshmallow sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, and those ooey-gooey bread rolls. If you're the head chef, you might want to opt for recipes that use healthier ingredients, like using fat-free chicken broth as a turkey bast instead of preparing gravy, using sugar substitutes, or using fruit purees in lieu of oil in baked goods. You might also choose to use plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream as a tasty alternative for mashed potatoes and casseroles. Keep in mind that all your favorite Thanksgiving treats can be enjoyed in moderation without the need for restrictions.

4. Listen to Your Body

Healthy eating is not about shame or deprivation, but about balance. Use smaller plates and serving utensils to encourage portion control. Start out by serving yourself what you know you're going to eat and what you want to eat. Pay attention to your body's signals. If you feel hungry for more, go for it! The goal is to honor your body's needs without judgment or criticism.

5. Focus on Gratitude, Family, and Friends

Thanksgiving is more than just turkey and green beans; it's about thankfulness and connection. This Thanksgiving, remember that connecting with loved ones is the key to a healthier celebration. Strengthening bonds with your family and friends around the table, enjoying a leisurely walk, or simply sharing quality time with each other all contribute to a balanced, well-rounded holiday that nourishes your body and your soul.

As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember that the spirit of the season is rooted in gratitude, love, and the shared experience of a delicious meal. Above all, remember to relax and fully enjoy the holiday. Have fun without carrying the weight of judgment or shame.

For more tips on health and well-being, stay connected to our community website right here at Wishing you a joyful and nourishing Thanksgiving from your friends at Village Connect!

About Our Village Contributor

A headshot of woman with a plaid shirt.

Natasha Rentas

Team Village Connect- Marketing and Customer Care Specialist

Natasha Rentas is a writer, communicator, and multimodal content creator from Orlando, FL. She is currently finishing up her B.A. in writing and rhetoric at UCF, and she hopes to continue grad school under UCF's rhetoric and composition, M.A. program. She wants to research and work with science, public health, and crisis communications to connect and unite people through language. When she is not writing or studying, Tasha can be found behind a lens or hanging out with her dog, Mucca.

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9 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

All content on our blog, including text, graphics, images, and any other material, is intended solely for informational purposes. Despite our passion for health, we're not doctors or dietitians, and we don't wear lab coats to work. Our advice isn't a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have about your health.

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