5 Ways To Have a Healthier Thanksgiving

Turkey and side dishes on thanksgiving table

Cameron Whitman / Stocksy United

A healthy Thanksgiving probably sounds like an oxymoron. For many people, the holiday is filled with sugar and carb-filled foods. Any sort of physical activity is all but forgotten.

But with a little bit of thought and prep, a healthy Thanksgiving is possible. Here are five smart ways to avoid the turkey-and-stuffing-induced food coma and make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable.

Don't Skip Breakfast

Step one to a healthy, happy Thanksgiving: Eat breakfast. Many people decide to skip breakfast (and lunch), opting to restrict themselves since they are going to eat a big meal later.

But the last way you want to do is skip any meal prior to dinner. When you skip meals, by the time dinner rolls around you’re so hungry that you end up eating way more calories than you need.

The best way to prep for an all-out feast is to eat a nutrient-rich breakfast. Foods full of lean protein and fiber are best because they will keep your energy levels up and help you feel fuller longer.

Here are some healthy breakfast recipes to start your day off right:

Stay Hydrated

This advice is useful on your average day, but it’s especially helpful on Thanksgiving. Many of the foods we eat on Thanksgiving are high in sodium and fat. Water will help flush out your body and alleviate
bloating.

Upping your water intake can also keep your appetite level in check. When you are dehydrated, your body has a surge of ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone that controls hunger. When it is out of whack, it causes you to eat more than you normally would.

Try a Healthy New Recipe

When you think about Thanksgiving, you probably picture glistening turkey, creamy mashed potatoes with a pat of butter, golden-brown stuffing, crisp apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream... And there is nothing wrong with that! For most people, there is little harm in indulging occasionally.

Having said that, if you are looking for something a bit lighter, refer to these guides for some naturally delicious and totally healthy Thanksgiving dishes:

If you eat more than you planned, let go of the guilt. You're allowed to eat foods just because they are delicious. Thanksgiving is only one day, after all!

Slow Down and Savor

This is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your holiday meal without going overboard. Just by eating slower, you'll consume fewer calories. If you eat too fast, you can easily eat past the point of fullness. Eating slowly, however, gives your brain time to receive the signal from your stomach that it's full.

Slowing down also gives you the chance to appreciate the food before you. So eat slowly and really taste the food instead of wolfing it down. Put your fork down between bites and really savor each mouthful of food. Enjoy all the delicious things you are eating.

Start an Active Family Tradition

Add a new physically active tradition to your family's celebration. When the Thanksgiving feast is over, adding a walk to your family tradition can be a great way to close out the holiday. Walking is yet another opportunity for you and your family to do something fun together. It also gives you the chance to digest your food after such a large meal. By the time you make it home, you might even have room for dessert.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ferriday D, Bosworth ML, Lai S, et al. Effects of eating rate on satiety: A role for episodic memory? Physiol Behav. 2015;152(Pt B):389-396. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.06.038