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3 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

Dec 8, 2010

Thanksgiving is the one of a few days each year where holiday eating can spiral out of control and your diet can find itself quite forgotten. From the vast array of delectable foods and desserts offered during the holidays to the huge amount of food so often available, it can be difficult to remember healthy habits with a giant turkey sitting in front of you, flanked by huge bowls of stuffing and bread. Holiday eating does not have to be a disaster for your diet, however. You can enjoy the food of the holiday and still stay within the confines of a healthy diet by employing some of the following tips.

1. Participate in a Turkey Trot

One of the most popular days of the year for organized runs is Thanksgiving Day, and "Turkey Trots" are held nationwide in hundreds of cities and towns. Generally run early in the morning, Turkey Trots are usually a 5K (3.1 mile) run, with some larger gatherings offering 1K walks, kids fun runs, or 10K (6.2 mile) distance runs.

In addition to warding off some of the extra calories you may consume through holiday eating, joining a Turkey Trot can also serve as a fun group activity for the family, because the events are family-friendly and allow all ages to participate.

You can also choose to play football (or any group sport) after watching it with the family after your meal. While watching the action on a television is a great way to relax and have fun on the holiday, so too can throwing a football around with the family outside.

2. Create Healthy Sides

Sometimes it's easy to get carried away with delicious sides such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy and forget that turkey even exists. It's doubtful many dieters can keep from trying some of everything on the table, but sides don't need to be caloric catastrophes, despite traditions. It's easy to come up with sides that can add flavor to your holiday eating without breaking your diet in half. For example, you can serve roasted sweet potatoes instead of traditional mashed potatoes.

3. Eat Breakfast

Since Thanksgiving dinner is often eaten in the afternoon, it's common to forget about breakfast since the threat of a giant meal rests on the horizon. But as anyone who's tried to eat sensibly knows, starving yourself now will just have you eating much more, later. To combat the urge to fill your Thanksgiving plate over and over again, make sure to eat breakfast that morning. 

In addition to keeping your Thanksgiving feast binge-free, eating breakfast will keep your energy level high if you're responsible for getting dinner to the table. As many people wake up at fairly early hours to start cooking for Thanksgiving, toiling away in the kitchen can be made doubly hard if you've not eaten. Choose a sensible breakfast so you're not too ravenous by the time the turkey hits the table.

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