How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

The traditions of Thanksgiving are special-gathering with family and friends, preparing and planning the meal, and giving thanks for all the good things in life. Traditionally, good health is neglected as we eat too much, ditch our exercise program, and sit for hours in front of the television. But how to have a healthy Thanksgiving? Make a few changes that allow you to enjoy the holiday while still respecting your healthy body:

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.

Healthy Thanksgiving Tips


Run a local Turkey Trot for a festive, physical start to the day. Organize a group of family or friends and start a new tradition. Even the more sedentary may welcome a little movement. Not up for a race? Plan to meet in the woods, foothills, or along the lake for a run or walk. An encounter with nature will make you appreciate all in your life. Exercise and being outside may be a perfect neutralizer for a strained family relation.


Don’t save up your hunger for dinner and massive overeating. Eat a complete, healthy breakfast focusing on whole grains, fruits, healthy proteins and fats. Include a snack, and a light lunch. Drink plenty of water during the day, especially as dinner approaches. Water provides a sense of fullness and will help prevent overeating. Eating well, earlier in the day will help stave off hunger before the big meal. You will enjoy the dinner, eat slower, and stick with reasonable portions.


For dinner, plan on one plateful rather than refilling several times. If healthy items won’t be included, bring a spinach salad and indulge with a big serving. Stick with the turkey breast meat and take small portions of the butter laden salads and vegetables. Pile on the dishes that resemble the original food they were named after like green beans or broccoli. Introduce a new recipe to your traditional fare by preparing a homemade cranberry relish or sweet potato casserole. Cooking Light and Eating Well have healthy, easy to make, delicious options.


Put your fork down after every bite. You will savor your food, allow your brain to recognize when you are full, eat less and participate more fully in conversations. The Thanksgiving turkey is so delicious, cranberry relish tart, sweet potatoes so creamy-don’t miss out on enjoying these once a year dishes because you dashed to the finish.


Plan a brisk walk before dessert. Blame it on the dog! Get everyone bundled up and take a walk down the lantern lit streets or through town. The fresh air will elevate everyone’s moods (not that there will be any family strife), digestion will be assisted with a little movement, and your urgency to eat more will be diminished. A bite or two of dessert may be all you crave.

Contact a Rolling Strong Coach to discuss ways in which you can stay on track this holiday season.

by Christy Coughlin, Rolling Strong Wellness Coach