Behold, the season of all the good food is upon us.

I’ve spoken to so many of you about what your biggest health struggle is over the holidays, and inevitably, food is a huge one.  You feel like you undo all of your hard work throughout the year in these last few months, only to start the new year off with new plans of getting your health in order again.  And the majority of us stay on that cycle for our whole lives.  Sound familiar?

I want you to feel like this year is different. Instead of throwing all caution to the wind and waiting for the new year to roll around, I want to help you find your perfect balance of feeling on track and still enjoying the heck out of those yummy holiday dishes.

That’s why you should make sure to incorporate these healthy hacks into your Thanksgiving to survive the holiday as well as the others just around the bend.

1. Walk it off
Instead of just lounging all day waiting for the big meal to arrive on the table, go for a walk. Actually, my favourite way to start Thanksgiving day is with a morning walk.  It helps to set the tone for the day and feels great to start the day with some fresh air.  In fact, involve your relatives and make it a family affair by taking a long stroll after the big meal, as well.  Not only is it relaxing and good quality time, but it will also help you digest your food better.

2. Eat your breakfast
You may think you’re heading things off at the pass by not eating breakfast, however by the time you get to that big Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be so hungry you’ll likely overeat. Make a healthy breakfast choice, and have a hearty salad for lunch. It will keep your blood sugar balanced so you won’t become too hungry, and you’ll have made great choices all day and can indulge a little at Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Lookout for the pitfalls of gravy
Gravy is one of the things we look forward to at Thanksgiving — a little extra flavour we don’t typically have throughout the year.  However, be mindful of what you use to portion your gravy on your plate. A large ladle can rack up an extra 800 calories, just for the ladle of gravy.  Instead, grab a tablespoon and drizzle your gravy onto your plate. By using this hack, you’ll still get to enjoy everything else and get your gravy too — guilt-free.

4. Bring a healthy side
If you’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, make your side dish something healthy. There are lots of tasty options that everyone will love — make a salad with homemade dressing, or bake sweet potatoes and dress them with sprinkles of cinnamon.  These are incredibly simple and loved by all, so you can’t go wrong with either.  You could also lookup healthy Thanksgiving side items on Pinterest to find something a little fancier if you love spending time in the kitchen whipping up new things!

5. Savor the desserts
This is not a free license to eat everything on the dessert table, however, if your grandma makes the best pumpkin pie, make sure you ration yourself some room to enjoy a small piece. See lots you want to try? Then take bite-sized samples of each, then sit and truly savour them. Don’t overdo it, but enjoy those desserts you only get to have a few days per year.

6. Perfect your portions
When filling up your plate, load it up with veggies first, then the rest. When you make the majority of your plate veggies, you’ll feel fuller without feeling overstuffed. Plus, that gives you room to enjoy that dessert you’ve been pining for too.

Thanksgiving should be a relaxing holiday that you enjoy, but having a few boundaries for you to follow to keep up your healthy lifestyle will go a long way.

What’s your favourite Thanksgiving tradition?

Let me know what your favourite Thanksgiving tradition is – I always love reading what others hold near and dear to their hearts this holiday!

To your health & happiness!
Janice Marto
Board Certified Women’s Functional Health & Wellness Coach
Nourish Whole Self

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