By Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.
It is a wonderful time of year and the season of delicious food is upon us!
I've spoken to many of you about what your biggest health struggle is over the holidays, and ultimately food is the biggest issue. You feel like you undo all of your hard work throughout the year in these last few months. Does this sound familiar?
I want you to feel like this year is different. I want to help you find your perfect balance of feeling on track and still enjoy those delicious holiday dishes!
That’s why I encourage you to incorporate these healthy tips into your Thanksgiving to enjoy the holidays.
- Walk before you eat!
While waiting for the big meal to arrive on the table, it's best to go for a walk! Actually, my favorite 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 either before or after the big meal. It is relaxing and you can enjoy quality time with loved ones, and walking will help you digest your food better.
- Eat your breakfast
If you skip breakfast, it's likely you will be so hungry by the Thanksgiving meal that you will overeat! Eat a healthy breakfast, it will keep your blood sugar balanced so you won’t become too hungry. Also, since you will have made great choices all day, you can indulge a little for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Be Mindful of Gravy
Gravy is one of the things we look forward to at Thanksgiving -- a little extra flavor we don't typically have throughout the year. A large ladle of gravy can add upto an extra 800 calories, so use moderation. This way you’ll still get to enjoy everything else and get your gravy too -- guilt free.
- Bring a healthy dish
If you’ve been invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, make your side dish something healthy. There are many 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 simple and loved by all, so you can't go wrong with either dish. You could also look up healthy Thanksgiving side items on Pinterest to find something a little fancier if you love spending time in the kitchen trying to create new recipes!
- Balance your portions
When filling up your plate, first load it up with veggies, then add the other items. 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 wanting to try.
- Drink plenty of water
Stay well hydrated by drinking a glass of water every 1-2 hours. You will feel more energized and it will help decrease sugar cravings. In addition drink a glass of water 1-2 hours before your meal. This will enhance your digestion and you might not drink as much alcohol.
- Savor the desserts
If your grandmother makes the best pumpkin pie, make sure you ration yourself some room to enjoy a small piece. What happens when you see many desserts you want to try? Then take small samples of each, then sit and truly savor each and every bite. Try not to overdo it, but enjoy those desserts you only get to have a few days per year.
- *Most important Tip: Please don't discuss politics at the dinner table!
Instead, share what you love and appreciate about your loved ones who are gathered with you! Make this a holiday you will always cherish!
Thanksgiving should be a relaxing holiday that you enjoy and having a few guidelines helps keep up your healthy lifestyle.
What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Mine is our mother preparing a delicious Indian rice and tamarind dish called Pulihara.
We wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!