How To Stay Fit And Healthy On Thanksgiving
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How To Stay Fit And Healthy On Thanksgiving

Health tips for the holidays.

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How To Stay Fit And Healthy On Thanksgiving
Ronnie's gourmet catering

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays! I look forward to this day for one reason and one reason only- the food. I also love the family atmosphere and the feeling of togetherness, long distant cousins become close siblings and everyone gets along; the old are like children and the children are joyful cherubs; their giggles and laughter warm cold and dreary hearts. But during the holidays, unfortunately, I eat so much I cannot sleep; I gorge so much I cannot eat for two days. I'm the first one in line for the turkey. You can find me at the table sporting baggy sweat pants as I make room for pecan pie, stuffing, and macaroni-n-cheese yum, tummy love. I love side dishes and my first serving is my appetizer. After my third plate, I find myself on a downward spiral of munchies which last until New Year’s.

I hate overeating to the point of nausea, but I use to do it every holiday season. I told myself a couple of years ago I would stop binge eating. No longer would I feel lethargic and lazy on days following another holiday gathering. No more seasonal bloat and weight gain. And no more trying to save room for desserts because this Thanksgiving there will be more space in my tummy. I will eat my favorite foods rather than wasting stomach space eating foods I don’t like. When eating junk food, my sister always says: “one time won’t kill you, it’s the repetition that will.” For the past two years I followed my own advice. And if I gain weight, I don’t have to overwork myself at the gym. Your body and health is a balancing act. Find your balance to maintain wellbeing.

The first tip to not overeating during this festive month is to eat your favorite foods. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain 1lb during the Holidays. Water retention and tummy inflation tricks us into thinking we have gained more than what we have. It’s a holiday, you should overeat. But let’s not slip into a food coma! The pound that we gain doesn’t seem like much, but it can add up. People consume more calories on the weekends, at celebrations, and of course during the holidays. “Weight gained during the six-week winter holiday season accounts for 51 percent of all weight gained by the general population over the entire year,” writes Anneli Rufus author of Will I get Fat? 15 Signs You’ll Gain Weight. Instead of losing the added pounds, we keep them while tallying on more. Add in the extra calories and you are looking at 5-10lbs gained in 1-3 years. Ouch.

Wait, slow-down. Didn’t you just say I can eat my favorite foods? Yes I did, but don’t stress. You can eat your grandmother’s creamy pie and scrumptious casseroles! Create a balance by exercising and portion control. Thankfully, traditional holiday meals are unprocessed and require cooking (calorie burn) to make. It’s hard out here for a foodie! No really, it is difficult to enjoy food these days-let alone Thanksgiving-because everyday is a reason to over indulge. Don’t let the media kill your food vibes. For this holiday, focus on foods that make your body feel good long after digestion. Listen to your body.

What if I have been doing so well with my diet and exercise that these upcoming holidays will kill my progress? No, not true. Like I said before, one day won't derail your healthy lifestyle. Do not feel guilty or restrict yourself. Extreme dieting and restricting food intake leads to binge eating and fast weight gain. Sometimes you only need to revamp your recipes to meet nutritional standards. Simply swap out bad choices for good choices. Instead of pecan pie, eat pumpkin or sweet potato pie. You will save about 100 calories. Here are my top tips, choices, and swaps to eat/do during the season.

Food choices

Turkey (white meat), roast beef, sweet potatoes, raw veggies and dips, green beans, collard greens (vegan), sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, butternut squash, corn bread, whole wheat rolls, cranberries, roasted root vegetables, vegetable casseroles, apples, chutneys, wild rice, and cranberry sauce (no sugar added).

*Add different recipes from cultures around the world to spice up your Thanksgiving*

Healthy cooking substitutes

  • Soy milk for regular milk (1:1 ratio)
  • Evaporated skim milk for cream or plant-based creams
  • Full fat coconut milk for heavy cream (If you don’t like the coconut flavor try cashew milk)
  • Unsweetened apple sauce for oil (1 cup of oil = 1/2 cup of apple sauce+ 1/2 cup of oil)
  • Crushed fiber cereals, hemp seeds, or barely for bread crumbs (add seasonings and herbs, if you don’t like cereal try wheat crackers)
  • Use garlic powder/pink salt for regular salt
  • Maple syrup for a natural vegan sweetener
  • Swap Paleo flour for white/wheat flour.

Food swaps

  • Unsalted chicken stock
  • vegetable stock
  • Whole wheat rolls instead of white
  • Mash Sweet potatoes instead of Idaho potatoes (purple potatoes are a thing)
  • Cook with a turkey leg instead of pork for greens and veggies (It’s a Southern thing)
  • Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for vegans use Kite Hill dairy free products

Do’s

  • Drink more water to flush the toxins out your system. If water is not your thing, sip on unsweetened tea, coffee, or my favorite: carbonated water. (Yoga is great for detoxing your body as well)
  • After you feast, go on a walk with your family for 20mins- 1hr. This will help with digestion (any family activity will do such as basketball, dancing, ice skating, etc)
  • For your first plate, get a scoop of each food item you like. On your second plate, reduce your food items to two favorites.
  • Pick one decadent dessert. Choose a slice of holiday cake and eat half to 3/4s of it.
  • Exercise the next day
  • Eat your veggies.
  • Pick one: casserole or macaroni and cheese

Don’ts

  • Top your food on top of each other. If it doesn’t fit on the plate, it doesn’t work
  • Beat yourself up about your food choices
  • Wear loose fitting clothing (you’ll tend to eat more with clothes that are loose rather than more fitted)
  • Starve yourself till dinner time
  • Eat past overeating
  • Eat standing up
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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