5 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

by Kimball Willson, The Equestrian Health Coach

Most Thanksgiving dinners consist of a big rich meal complete with sweets, cocktails, and of course, celebration with family and friends. You can maintain your healthy habits during this day of overindulgence with the following tips:

  1. Don’t overdo it on refined carbohydrates. Certain “holiday foods” may be a family tradition, but if you have too many, it has the potential to add to your waistline! The mashed potato side, homemade breads and delicious desserts can spike your blood sugar, setting your body up to store fat. However, don’t deprive yourself completely, just choose a small one or two bite serving and fill up your plate with extra green veggies or salad instead – a colorful plate offers a wider variety of nutrition too.
  1. Watch your portion size and don’t feel obligated to eat everything that is put out. Festive holiday plates are often much larger than what we regularly use at home, so be mindful of this when spooning food onto your plate. Before you go up for a second serving, relax for twenty minutes and enjoy the company around you. Once your body’s signaling catches up, you may find that you aren’t actually hungry anymore! And when it comes to dessert, you can always split a portion with your partner or friend.
  1. Limit your cocktails. Many holiday drinks are loaded with sugar, and mixers oftentimes have artificial colors and flavoring. Instead, reach for the red wine and limit yourself to 1-2 glasses. Consuming alcohol may also cause you to be less aware of the amount of food you are eating and when you are full. Sparkling water in a wine glass with a garnish is a festive alternative!

  1. Get some exercise and eat at your regular meal times. If the barn is closed on Thanksgiving, go for a walk, jog, or head to the gym. However, it isn’t necessary to workout for hours or skip meals in order to “make room for the calories”. In fact, you will likely just make yourself cranky, hungry, and food focused, instead of being able to enjoy the time with family and friends. Try to stick with your regular routine so you can experience all aspects of your Thanksgiving dinner, not just the food!
  1. Be kind to yourself. Maintaining good health is a long-term lifestyle decision. If you slip up by eating foods that aren’t normally a part of your diet, don’t let it ruin your day or be a downward spiral, just get back to making healthy choices. The guilt associated with eating the “wrong” foods can oftentimes be more stress on your body than the actual food.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, have fun with friends and family, and use these tips to help make your turkey day a healthy one!

Kimball Willson is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and the founder of The Equestrian Health Coach.  She offers nutritional and lifestyle coaching to riders nationwide who want to improve their health so they can ride their best.  Learn more about her programs, schedule a Free Introduction Call, and download your copy of “3 Common Health Mistakes that are Ruining Your Ride” at www.EquestrianHealthCoach.com and www.SelfCareCleanse.com. Contact Kimball at kimball@eqhealthcoach.com