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7 Tips for a Healthier and Happier Thanksgiving Day

Healthier and Happier Thanksgiving Day

The holiday season is right around the corner, and most are looking forward to spending more quality time with family and friends. With the recent pandemic causing social isolation and burnout, the health and wellbeing of many employees were affected. The poor health and wellbeing have impacted their work-life balance and productivity.

Thanksgiving Day is an excellent opportunity to relieve stress and have fun with our beloved. However, most people mistake the festive season to be all about food. Undoubtedly, the traditional dishes and desserts are the most awaited part of the entire year, but sadly they also come with the extra unhealthy fats and calories.

While this can make your health goals and wellbeing journey sway out of their way, a little planning and self-control can go a long way in balancing fun and health.

Here are a few tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving Day while keeping a check on your health and wellbeing.

  1. Keep yourself active throughout the day

Most of Thanksgiving Day is spent talking with friends or family, preparing and eating food, watching movies, and snacking now and then. While these fun activities can be great stress relievers, they can impact your daily physical activity. Try to include some simple physical movement-based activities throughout your day.

  • Make sure you complete your daily exercise before the guests arrive or before you leave for the celebrations.
  • If possible, attend community events like a 5K run, a Thanksgiving Yoga class, or other special fitness events.
  • Organize ball games, net games, yard games, or other sports to play along with the guests, making the day more special.
  • Take a walk after lunch or dinner.
  • Make sure you clean up the home before going to sleep to make up for the step count and physical movement.

2. Swap Traditional with Healthy Alternatives

Apart from spending time with our beloved, the best part of Thanksgiving Day is savoring all the traditional dishes. While the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, and cranberry relish taste the best, it is loaded with unhealthy fats and sugars. Making healthy swaps for the unhealthy ingredients can help you with a guilt-free indulgence.

  • Potatoes are high in calories and carbs. Swap the mashed potatoes with cauliflower mash, roasted potatoes with roasted Brussels sprouts, potato fries with baked potato or sweet potato fries.
  • The pumpkin pie is a must for Thanksgiving. While the actual pumpkin filling is good enough, the buttery crust has the most fat and calories. And if you serve it with a dollop of cream, it adds to the calorie woes. Make a crustless pie or use low-fat butter.
  • Do not use frosting or full-fat cream for the pies or desserts. Instead, use low-fat whipped cream.
  • Use cooking spray instead of tossing in loads of butter.
  • Use low-fat or half-and-half dairy products.
  • Substitute sugars with fresh fall seasonal produce and healthier alternatives.
  • Use oats or millet flakes instead of breadcrumbs.

3. Manage Your Portion Sizes

With all the favorite yummy food around, it is easy to overeat without even realizing it. The key to curbing overeating is by controlling portions and eating mindfully. Here is how you can manage your overall portion size and calorie intake.

  • Use smaller plates than the normal large dinner plates.
  • Do not stack your plate with different foods at a time.
  • Chew and eat well, rather than stuffing and swallowing soon.
  • Make sure your plate has more colorful veggies and lean proteins than carbs and fats.
  • Keep the fried foods and desserts to a minimum.
  • Save the leftovers properly and turn them into healthier meals for the next few days.
  • Stay hydrated always. Keep a bottle of water around and sip in between your juices and before meals.
  • Avoid alcohol. If you cannot avoid it, keep a check within the recommended levels only.

4. Make the Table A Device-Free Zone

Our hectic schedules have made it difficult to spend quality time with our friends and family. The culture of family meals with lots of discussions and talk does not seem to happen as frequently as it used to be. While the traditional fatty dishes are not very recommended keeping in mind good health and wellbeing, the tradition of family meals is always welcome.

Psychiatry experts at Baystate Medical Center suggest keeping gadgets away during Thanksgiving Day meal times. Make the table a device-free zone by keeping the phones and devices away in another room. This will help resist the habit of checking the phones for messages, emails, or notifications. Staying away from social media and work-related matters on holidays and in family times is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay.

5. Help The Needy

The word ‘Thanksgiving’ itself preaches saying ‘thanks’ and to ‘give’. Like other Thanksgiving traditions, the wisdom of ‘better to give than receive’ must be passed on to the next generations. Studies also show that connecting with and helping someone in a fulfilling way can stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, promoting happiness. Volunteer at events or in your neighborhood, deliver some good food or gifts to child care or elder care facilities, or do anything to help the needy.

6. Mend Your Relationships

Our busy schedules and the pandemic-caused social isolation have created a lot of distance amongst friends and family members. Sadly, many relationships have become rocky. Thanksgiving is one of those perfect opportunities to mend those estranged relationships.

Expressing gratitude and forgiving are known to have an immense impact on our physical and mental health. Overcome the feelings of disappointment and stress of a bad relationship by making the first move to mend ways. Be thankful for everything they have showered you with or forgive them for their wrongdoings to move ahead peacefully, stress-free, and guilt-free.

7. Indulge in Self-Care

While eating healthy, getting adequate physical activity, and having a healthy social life are crucial, it is even more important to take care of yourself for holistic health. Self-care is underestimated but plays a huge role in mental wellbeing. This Thanksgiving, other special days, and for all your small achievements, make sure you reward yourself. Book a spa appointment, treat yourself to some relaxing aromatherapy, buy yourself something nice, or plan a solo vacation – do anything that makes you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, it boosts your confidence and morale, reflecting better workplace productivity and healthier relationships, all of which impact your health and wellbeing.

Although it is really OK to indulge in a little extra pumpkin pie or other goodies on special occasions, the concept of balanced health must be understood. Involve the entire family and friends in your wellbeing strategies to make it happen for you and others.

With Thanksgiving Day bringing together all your beloved, it is the best time to start taking steps for everyone’s good health and wellbeing.

Post Author: Admin