Staying true to your health and wellness
Your family and friends are eagerly awaiting the holiday season. They want to spend time with you and expect good-tasting food. You have to meet high expectations, especially for Thanksgiving Day. Besides delicious traditional desserts and great-tasting food, there are extra calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. This can make it difficult to eat healthily and keep on track with your fitness goals throughout Thanksgiving and the holiday season. However, a little planning can help. These are three ways to make Thanksgiving healthier without sacrificing family and friends’ fun and keeping the flavour of your favourite dishes.
Incorporate Activity throughout the Day
Thanksgiving Day is often filled with sedentary activities. We spend our day talking to family and friends, making dinner, snacking, and watching family videos, sports, or movies. These are great ways to spend the day. However, you can also incorporate movement-based activities. These are just a few ideas.
- Before your guests arrive, or even before you leave for your destination, make time to exercise. You can run, walk with your family, or create a workout video. You might find that some fitness centres are open on Thanksgiving. Could you make sure you check their holiday hours?
- Attend a community event, if possible, such as a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (usually a 5K race) and a Thanksgiving yoga class. Check out the schedules of your local gyms and community groups for various classes, events, and activities.
- If the weather allows, host events with your friends and family. You can organize yard games, a family game of football or your field day featuring different prizes and events.
- After dinner, go for a walk.
- Assign everyone a cleaning job to keep your guests happy between dinner and dessert.
Use Ingredient Alternatives
Traditional dishes are delicious, but they can be high in fats, simple sugars, and carbohydrates that can quickly increase your calorie intake. There are many options for commonly used ingredients. They are less caloric and have the same delicious tastes and textures but are also lower in calories.
- Instead of butter and oil, use applesauce or cooking spray. You can also substitute sugar with unsweetened applesauce and vanilla.
- You can swap whole eggs for egg whites (2 egg whites = 1 whole egg).
- Instead of white bread, enriched bread and all-purpose flour, use multigrain bread or whole-wheat flour.
- You can use oats instead of breadcrumbs.
- Low-fat dairy products can be substituted for full-fat.
- You can substitute heavy cream with evaporated skim milk, low-fat half and a half or even nonfat yoghurt
- You can top your desserts with marshmallow fluff, whip cream or whipped cream.
- To sweeten desserts, use fresh fruit and not added sugars.
Manage your Portions
A great strategy to manage overall caloric intake is managing portion sizes. Here are some tips for portion control
- For your favourite dishes, prepare your plate by sectioning it.
- Avoid stacking foods on top of one another.
- Use a smaller plate.
- Before you eat, drink a glass of water.
- Drinking sodas and juices high in added sugars is a good alternative to drinking them.
- When eating, take your time and eat only until you are satisfied.
- Start by filling your plate with vegetables, fruit dishes, and lean proteins, and then add the starches or sweets.
- Reduce snacking on chips, dips, and appetizers.
- The desserts should be saved for after the main meal.
You don’t have to sacrifice family and friends for your Thanksgiving health and wellness goals. You can manage portions, swap ingredients, and add physical activity to Thanksgiving. This will allow you to balance family, friends and food while focusing on your personal, meaningful health goals.