When it comes to Thanksgiving, you may think staying healthy and enjoying your favorite comfort foods isn’t possible. Still, I tell you that it’s possible, but it’s also easy. The secret is pretty simple: eat real foods and avoid the artificial. That’s it. That’s how you turn Thanksgiving from an unhealthy binge into a mostly healthy meal.
Keep It Real
Without processing or modification, eating real food is the key to eating healthy any time of the year. Things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats keep you feeling full and provide your body with its nourishment. You’ll want to opt for real butter over margarine, fresh sweet potatoes over canned yams, and whole wheat bread over white.
In addition, here are some more tips to help you keep things real:
- Read the label; if you can’t pronounce it, don’t get it.
- Purchase organic; these foods are real and do not contain pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- We suggest buying your turkey locally because commercial turkeys are kept inhumanely and fed antibiotics and supplements. In some cases, “natural flavorings” such as sodium phosphate and saline solutions are used.
- Cook from scratch; use fresh, unprocessed ingredients in your Thanksgiving dinner like real cranberry sauce, homemade whole wheat stuffing, mashed potatoes, and fresh mushrooms and green beans.
Avoid the Artificial
Just as eating real food keeps you healthy, it’s important to avoid artificial foods. Think of overly processed foods, including some powder, or have a chemical composition. For example, here are some of the things you want to avoid:
- Low-fat foods
- Fat-free foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Hydrogenated oils
- Anything labeled “diet.”
This year, I want you to start a new Thanksgiving tradition that can set the stage for a year of healthy eating. All you have to do is keep it real.
- Stay active; instead of vegging out in front of the television, get outside with the family, go for a walk, or start a flag football game.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water; staying hydrated keeps you full, making it less likely you’ll overeat.
- Use a smaller plate; it’s hard to control portions when filling a super-sized plate.
- Skip the seconds, or wait 20 minutes before refilling your plate to allow your body to become full.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself; Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and it’s okay to enjoy yourself and some good, wholesome food.