How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie
By Be Well Health Coach Kerry Bajaj

I talked to many clients this week who are anxious about their healthy eating going out the window over the Thanksgiving holiday. This comes up especially if you’re travelling to visit family where you may have less control over what you’re eating.

I get it. You don’t want to appear fussy. Plus, a strange thing happens when I’m at my parents house — they have lots of goodies (ice cream in the freezer! crumb cake! 5 different types of cereal!) and it’s the one place where I can dig in without the constraint of having to be polite.

But given that my health is something I’m incredibly grateful for, I choose to respect it over Thanksgiving. Here are my top tips for enjoying healthy holidays:

1. Eat a Good Breakfast

No matter what you do, start the day off right. Get some protein, healthy fats and fiber. It will help to balance your blood sugar, curb cravings and set you up for a better day. I love to start the day with a Sustain smoothie with some avocado, spinach, kale and a little almond butter blended in the Vitamix.

2. Bring Supplies or Make a Run to the Grocery Store

If you’re travelling over the holidays, bring some healthy items with you, like protein shakes for breakfast. And when you arrive at your destination, you can certainly make a run to the grocery store to pick up some fruit, veggies and almond milk. Don’t let your healthy eating go out the window, when it’s a simple as stopping at the market to pick up some supplies.

3. Bring a Healthy Dish

I’m making roasted Brussels sprouts! I also love to be in charge of providing a healthy dessert, like this pumpkin pie. Even if your relatives are serving mashed potatoes loaded with heavy cream, you can balance the menu out by providing some lighter dishes.

4. Eat a Big Salad

Get some greens in your system to balance out the heavier foods. One of my favorite salads for Thanksgiving is spinach with dried cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese and a balsamic dressing.

5. Exercise!

Whatever you do, don’t skip exercise. You can run a turkey trot in the morning, play some touch football, do a 25-minute 6 Week Six-Pack workout, or gather everyone up for a walk after dinner. If you’re travelling, don’t forget to pack your sneakers…no excuses!

6. Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Meal, and Get Right Back on Track for Friday

Don’t make this a four-day eating extravaganza. The idea is that you eat well because it makes you feel better, so eat well! If you indulge (or over-indulge) on Thursday, enjoy it without guilt. Just be ready to get back on track with healthy foods and exercise on Friday.

7. Be the Healthy One

So many people are afraid to cause a stir by wanting to eat healthy. On the one hand, I can promise you that nobody really cares what you eat. But if it does get some attention, don’t be embarrassed. Enjoy it! Tell your family what you’re up to and how much better you feel. Be a leader within your family – think how much everyone could benefit if you got dad or Uncle Dan curious about changing their diet too. Don’t apologize for wanting to eat healthy foods. Be confident about your choices – people are drawn to confidence and enthusiasm.

8. Focus on Connection, Not Only Food

Enjoy everyone’s company, play with the kids, help wash the dishes, have fun, be happy and be grateful. Enjoy the holiday! And of course… the Cleanse is always there for you if you want to get back on track after the holiday.

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