Check Your Health: Healthy Thanksgiving

Check Your Health - Healthy Thanksgiving.png
Check Your Health - Healthy Thanksgiving.png
This Thanksgiving, approach dinner with the mindset of feeling fully satisfied, rather than fully stuffed. Judy Harris with the Utah Department of Health says, Thanksgiving does not have to be about guilt or on overeating. How nice would it be if we could avoid the vicious cycle of overindulgence, followed by guilt?


I often say “food is love”. We know that Thanksgiving is probably the #1 day of the year that this applies to - Food is Love. We have tradition tied with family and getting together and that includes a well-orchestrated traditional mealoften what our parents have done in the past years.

So how do we do this? Instead of looking at Thanksgiving as a day of overindulgence, focus on making memories with friends, family, and enjoying the experience and tradition of the holiday. The left overs will still be there tomorrow.

It is easy to get carried away with all the yummy foods we enjoy on Thanksgiving. In order to feel fully satisfied rather than fully stuffed do a little planning regarding your meals and be mindful of what your day will look like.

Utahn’s report that not having enough time and being so busy are the main reasons for poor eating. But with just a little thought while you are doing some mindless chore such as laundry or dishes, think about:

  • What are the foods you wish to keep traditional
  • What are the new foods you wish to add
  • What are the foods you really can do without and drop as part of your tradition

The Get Healthy Utah did a value survey of over 1000 people and found out what Utahns care about and want in their lives. Utahns report that they “want to be there for the one they love”. Utahn’s also say that the most important motivator to avoiding chronic disease is to eat well and be physically active. They do these things because they want to; they are motivated. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and to honor that by living in balance.

How we prepare food can make a big difference in making Thanksgiving a little healthier. Adding a vegetable dish that is not so filling and over bearing is a good start, and altering old recipes without compromising the taste is also a great strategy. Other ideas include:

  • Adding sweet potatoes to white potatoes to create a creamy texture, or choose 100% sweet potatoes.
  • Adding butternut squash and acorn squash to mashed potatoes is a yummy alternative, and they may not even need gravy!
  • Leafy salads of baby spinach or tender bib lettuce with chopped walnuts and apples and an apple cider vinegar dressing.
  • Roasted or sautéed carrots, sweet potatoes, or parsnip mix

Don’t forget to add some physical activity to balance out the day. That family “turkey bowl” game of touch football is more than healthy, it’s so much fun! Frisbee golf, walk to the local park or your neighbors, a bike ride, etc. Gather the family for an hour of movement. Being mindful of what your day will look like includes the activities you plan for the day.

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