Healthy Holidays: Thanksgiving

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Besides connecting with friends and family, and giving thanks for all our bounty, food is a huge part of Thanksgiving. While it’s important to celebrate and enjoy all those dishes you’ve been looking forward to, it’s also important to be mindful of the healthy habits you have built into your routine, too.

Here are our top tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving spread while still being kind to your body:

  • Be sure to have a healthy breakfast and lunch on Thanksgiving day. Many people make the mistake of starving themselves all day to try and compensate for a larger-than-normal dinner. It is better to focus on eating healthfully during the day, which will provide you with nutrients so you don’t show up at dinner famished and inhale the whole table.
  • Focus on your favorites. During Thanksgiving, there are a lot of appetizers and side dishes which can add up to a lot of calories. Mindless grazing on things such as crackers and nuts before the meal are often not as enjoyable as the main meal. Choose your favorite dishes to indulge in and try to avoid standing near the snack table if possible.
  • Give it a beat before you grab seconds. It can take the body some time to signal to the brain that it is full. Try waiting 20 minutes to truly see if you are hungry before grabbing seconds.
  • Add new, healthier side dishes to the menu. Plant-based whole-grain side dishes, such as our harvest quinoa salad is not traditional, but these vegetable-forward dishes will complement the traditional Thanksgiving foods well, and provide additional cancer-preventing vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
  • Be mindful of booze. Alcoholic drinks contain a lot of calories which can add up over the course of the day. Try having sparkling water or zero-calorie soft drinks instead or in between alcoholic drinks to reduce your intake.
  • Get back on track right away. It can be difficult to get back to your normal routine the next day if there are a lot of unhealthy leftovers in the house. Be sure to send guests home with some of the leftovers, and any unopened food products can be donated to a local homeless shelter.

Use our tips to make your holiday as healthy as possible, but also remember that Thanksgiving only comes around once per year. While food is a huge focus of this holiday, it’s not the only important thing.

Enjoy your meal, but also concentrate on being with your friends and family, and all the other things you are thankful for.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, and videos are reviewed by our oncology-trained dietitians to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society

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