How to have a Healthy Thanksgiving

how to have a healthy thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the holiday most closely associated with food in our culture. You have Christmas which symbolizes many things, Halloween which is about ghosts and candy, and New Years which is typically celebrated with some sort of toast at midnight. Only at Thanksgiving is the ENTIRE focus on the food. So how can you have a healthy Thanksgiving?

I’m guessing you’re expecting me to say, “Resist the pumpkin/apple/pecan pie! Focus on lean protein and vegetables!” But I’m not.

Rather, I’m going to focus this post on having a holistically healthy Thanksgiving celebration. Here’s how.

How to have a healthy Thanksgiving:

1. Have something you’re looking forward to BESIDES the food.

There is no chance we’re telling you skip grandma’s famous mashed potatoes. Even less chance we’re saying you should skip your mom’s or dad’s amazing pie (sweet tooth problems). But this doesn’t mean from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep that you should be simply thinking about food. Rather, take a moment to look around and identify a few things about the day you’re looking forward to. Perhaps it is sitting and watching the Macy’s Day Parade with your family as you begin your day. Or maybe it’s simply seeing the family and friends you don’t always have time to enjoy. Maybe it is having football on ALL day. Whatever you’re looking forward to, focus on enjoying that along with the food, rather than just the food being the focus.

2. Make part of your day active.

This doesn’t have to be a formal workout at your usual spot. You could go for a walk around the neighborhood with your dog, or play a game of touch football with your family before the big meal. If you live in a city with a Turkey Day Trot (or any other Thanksgiving themed run) that’s a great way to get in the spirit and stay active while doing so.

3. Take 10 minutes to write down what you’re thankful for this year.

At ISN we are big believers in the power of mental, emotional, and physical health. You can’t have just one and be healthy overall.

One of the best ways to be mentally healthy? Focus on gratitude. Take 10 minutes at the beginning of your day to write down 10 things you’re thankful for this year. Not only will this set you up for a happy day, but it could potentially help you control your impulses around the various food options. Win-win.

One final thing:

Don’t stress out about Thanksgiving Day eating. Honestly, the amount of negative consequences from one day of not having your healthiest nutrition are not great. If you pay attention to your hunger signals, and focus on some other things about the day besides food, you’ll be completely fine. So enjoy that slice of pie, and that green bean casserole, stress free. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for those around us, and to build relationships. The fact is food plays a role in that – so enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at ISN!