9 Tips to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday, from a Nutritionist
If you're wondering: How are we going to enjoy a healthy holiday this Thanksgiving without going off the rails? There is no one better to give us advice than Kerri Glassman, RD, a well-known dietitian, nutrition coach, and founder of Nutritious Life. Her take: You can have your pie and eat it too, without sacrificing your well-being goals. Here are her nine helpful tips for staying on track while still enjoying the feast this Thanksgiving.
Glassman believes that special occasions are wonderful times to celebrate life, and you can do it and also stay true to your overall health and well-being goals –– and still indulge –– appropriately. Her philosophy is to eat foods that nourish you without depriving yourself of the enjoyment that the holidays have to offer.
We caught up with Glassman as the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches and our grocery shopping lists are ready, our recipes all planned out, and our anticipation of gathering with loved-ones builds. This Thanksgiving, we want to celebrate our gratitude and feast on our favorite foods that connect us without totally losing our way along the path to a happy, healthy lifestyle
How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving
Glassman offers these tips, including her special Thanksgiving mantra, which is essentially a 10th tip. Follow her advice and have a very happy, healthy holiday with friends and family and you will feel great through the holidays!
1. Cruise through the holiday
What I mean is don't try to accelerate your health or weight loss goals right now, but just hold steady. It helps take off the added pressure. There are a few things I've told people over the years: Instead of thinking about trying to make more progress at this moment with your health goals, think about cruising from now until the New Year.
Think about staying in the zone with whatever you have accomplished up until now. It takes off this pressure and what normally happens is you'll maintain and stay where you are and then you can move forward again in January or you can actually continue making progress. If you try to go hardcore you'll end up indulging at the holiday party, feel bad, and continue to do it. Take off the added pressure.
2. Have a snack before you go to a holiday party
Don't show up to the party starving – you'll want to eat everything. Cut your hunger before you show up to the party. Have a coconut yogurt, or a handful of nuts, and you'll feel in control of your hunger. Don't go in starving.
3. Avoid unhealthy foods you would avoid the rest of the year
There's no difference between the holiday season and the foods we should avoid all year long. Avoid fried foods, highly packaged foods, and foods with lots of added sugar, since we don't want those foods in our diets in general. The holidays are a time to enjoy a special treat but not go totally off track. If you stick to being mostly healthy you can indulge in that pie.
4. Enjoy your indulgence
When you do choose to indulge, make it a conscious indulgence. Indulge in something that you're truly craving – and know that you're eating it from an empowered place. Enjoy every bite. Indulge in a conscious way, and you're not going to overconsume. Have that piece of the pie. And do it mindfully. Eat slower. Talk to your loved ones, as opposed to looking at your screen. Go ahead and slow down and spend more time eating.
5. Drink lots of water
Stay hydrated throughout the holidays. So often we mistake hunger. Stay hydrated and your energy will be up you're not going to want to eat as much. Add a cup of tea in the evening. I always like people to have some kind of bubbly water in between each drink. I like the probiotic seltzer, HUZZAH, since it has probiotics, to support gut health.
6. Eat more foods that are high in fiber
Having more fiber in your diet is going to help control your blood sugar. Also, having a cup of soup at the beginning of your meal will help slow down your eating. Adding a side salad with your meal will help you feel fuller because of its fiber and water volume.
7. Say yes to more veggies
Having more vegetables will never be a wrong decision. Have two vegetables at your meal. If they are serving Brussels sprouts, string beans, and a salad, have all three. Whatever you choose for your main course is fine –– but don't forget to take all the vegetables offered. When people eat a more decadent meal, they often forget the vegetables, almost as if they forgot that the vegetables were even there! But, don't skimp on the vegetables, ever!
8. Just because it's a holiday, don't lose track of your healthy habits
Stick with as many healthy habits as you do during the year during the holidays. As in, get your daily exercise. Drink your water throughout the day. Eat a healthy breakfast, and get as much sleep as you can. These will be incredibly important for your health, including managing your stress.
9. Bring a healthy dish to the party
Depending upon the situation, bring a healthy dish to the party. I recently brought a healthier seven-layer dip to my Halloween party, with vegetables for dipping. Of course, that's just an example. Bring a crudité platter with dips so you know you can eat lots of veggies. if your host is open to it, always bring vegetables!
For more great advice on how to be healthier during the holidays, read Dr. Michael Greger's advice on How to Stay Healthy and Plant-Based Over the Thanksgiving Holiday.