There’s no doubt that Thanksgiving is a special time to get together with friends and family to reflect on all the blessings of the past year and of course, to welcome Fall – which also means hearty comfort foods, eggnog, and pumpkin spice lattes!
You can still enjoy Thanksgiving without sabotaging your health or wellness goals. As the season changes, the trick is to include plenty of healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals into your diet to boost your immune system, while steering clear of too much sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Of course, you also want to ensure you’re getting enough good quality sleep and taking the time you need to indulge in some feel-good activities such as walking, reading and spending time with loved ones.
Here are five tips for a healthier Thanksgiving
1 Look for healthier recipes
This may sound obvious but choosing healthier recipes for your favourite Thanksgiving meals can help to cut down on unnecessary kilojoules, yet without compromising on flavor.
For instance, consider roasting or grilling your veggies such as carrots, parsnips, green beans and Brussel sprouts in a little salt and olive oil along with your fries, rather than deep frying them in tons of oil. Or better yet, spoil yourself with an AirFryer. You can pretty much cook your entire Thanksgiving meal in this nifty kitchen gadget without using any fat or oil.
And, when it comes to Thanksgiving favorites, a few healthy swaps can go a long way. For instance, add Greek-style yoghurt or light sour cream to your mashed potatoes, rather than heavy cream or butter and roasting a turkey in its own juices is one of the healthiest ways to cook it without drying it out.
Fresh salads made with brightly colored fruits and vegetables and wholegrains such as rice or quinoa are a good choice rather than rich, creamy side dishes and opt for fruit-based desserts over decadent chocolate cakes and/or puddings (Of course a small portion of your favorite food or treat will do no harm!)
When it comes to alcohol, don’t try to keep up with who you’re socialising with. Stick to your pace and sip glasses of water in between alcoholic drinks. The lightest picks are Gin and sugar-free tonic, or vodka, soda and lime. Avoid ciders, sugary cocktails or heavy red wines, which are more kilojoule dense. Or better yet? Switch to a mocktail instead!
2 Fill up on fiber
According to the Mayo Clinic, a fibre-rich diet, that’s particularly high in wholegrains and plant-based foods will not only stave off hunger pangs and keep you fuller for longer, it will also help to control blood sugar levels, keep your cholesterol levels in check and lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer. And, what better time than Fall to enjoy healthy comfort foods like oatmeal, wholegrain rice dishes and hearty soups and stews?
3 Move your body
One of the best ways to keep your weight in check over the holidays is to stay active. Studies show that moderate cardio activities such as walking, cycling or swimming can help you burn fat, especially the dangerous visceral fat that sits around your organs, and can contribute to health problems such as heart disease and type 2 Diabetes.
In our opinion, there’s no better time to go for a brisk walk with friends and family than after indulging in a hearty Thanksgiving meal, don’t you think?
If you’re short on time during the holidays or it’s too cold to head out, consider doing a quick high-intensity indoor workout (HIIT) a few times a week to build strength, burn calories and avoid weight gain. UK-based personal trainer, author and creator of the Body Coach TV, Joe Wicks, says you should aim for 20-25 minutes of HIIT exercise four times a week including moves such as burpees, squats and mountain climbers to get your heart rate up. Check out his YouTube channel for free workouts.
4 Stick to your routine
Sure, you may want to break your normal routine by sleeping in or watching your favorite series over the Thanksgiving weekend but sticking to some healthy habits is still important. Like taking a few minutes each morning or evening to cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin, take your supplements, squeeze in an exercise session or practice mindful meditation to help you manage the day ahead or wind down after a busy day. Of course, you also want to ensure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day and using sunscreen if you’re out and about. Trust us, your skin and body will thank you for it.
Short on time in the mornings? Rather than taking all sorts of different supplements for your skin, hair, nails and general health, why not switch to our beauty infused COLLAGEN? Not only is this refreshing drink mix packed with the right type of collagen for healthy skin and hair, it’s also high in immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals, plus a range of superfoods to give you what you need to thrive. And the good news is that just one scoop dissolves quickly in water, juice, yoghurt your favorite smoothie for a fruity breakfast or snack on the go.
5 Sleep smart
Aim to get at least seven hours’ sleep a night and turn off screens and other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. A lack of shut-eye makes you too tired to exercise and also disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite, which explains why you often feel hungrier when you haven’t slept. Struggling to wind down? Research gives scientific backing to lavender oil acting as a sedative – sprinkle a few drops on your bedding for a good sleep. If your room isn't dark enough to induce adequate melatonin production, you could be in for a restless night. Consider using an eye mask to block out the light.
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