Healthy Thanksgiving Tips that the Whole Family Will Love





The holidays are full of good company and even better food. Now that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, countless Americans are wondering how they will stick to their healthy diets in the face of scrumptious pies and savory breads. For some, it might seem impossible to balance the benefits of health and taste in the shadow of decades of tradition.


From stuffing to potatoes to the quintessential turkey, it's not easy to stay healthy on Thanksgiving when you're feeding an army of family members. Luckily, crafting the perfect, healthy meal is easier than it seems. Rely on these Thanksgiving ideas and tips to encourage healthy, delicious eating this year.


Don't curb the bird as the main course



Unless you're a vegan or vegetarian, Thanksgiving diners don't have to ditch the turkey to stay healthy. As a lean protein, turkey is one of the best meats to eat when you're watching your waist. Of course, it's recommended that you avoid the dark meat since these sections of the bird are higher in fat and calories than the white meat. But investing in plenty of turkey breast can supply the whole family with delicious food without breaking tradition.


Buy turkey breast from your local supermarket or farmer's market to avoid wasting the rest of the turkey on the big day. Staying local can also help you reduce the amount of time you'll spend in traffic among the other last-minute shoppers. Studies estimate that the average American wastes almost 42 hours per year because of traffic alone. Save some time and shop for easily prepped options to keep cooking time low. Even if you opt for the bone-in turkey breast, cooking this meat should still only take you a couple of hours to complete. This can also save you time hemming and hawing over the oven as you wait for an entire bird to cook.


Don't forget the side dishes



Even though the turkey is the focal point of Thanksgiving dinner, the main course is nothing without delicious side dishes. And what are the first two sides to come to mind? That's right: potatoes and stuffing.


While potatoes offer a number of nutritional benefits on their own, it's often the butter, milk, and cheese that can transform this healthy root vegetable into a calorie pit. If you can't resist the allure of creamy
potatoes, why not supplement this side with cauliflower?


Cauliflower is one of those magical vegetables that blend with just about any flavor. From pizza crusts to potato substitutes, cauliflower has become one of the best ways to enjoy a great meal with fewer calories.
Try splicing your potatoes with a bit of cauliflower to serve more people a healthier dish. You can even
substitute the entire side with a head of roasted cauliflower on its own. Just top the cauliflower with your
choice of delicious gravy and get your potato fix without the guilt.


Stuffing, on the other hand, can be a little harder to fake. After all, the deep, savory flavors of seasoned
bread can't be mimicked. Or can it?


Between gluten-free eaters and paleo enthusiasts, countless stuffing recipes have been developed with
Thanksgiving in mind. The real trick? Vegetables. Supplementing gluten-free bread options with countless
roasted veggies and mushrooms can take your stuffing game to the next level. With so many flavors in
your stuffing, your guests won't notice that the typical high-calorie stuffing is missing in the first place.


Avoid empty calories from unhealthy beverages



When most people try to lead healthier lives, the first thing to go is soda. These fizzy drinks might be
delicious, but they offer no nutritional value. Worse yet, they're high in calories, high in sugar, and can
even stain your teeth if you opt for a dark beverage. This is the last thing you want when Americans spend
over $2 billion on cosmetic dentistry alone.


Drinking sodas, coffees, and teas can add hundreds of calories to your diet before you even start your
Thanksgiving meal. Instead of supplying soda, offer fresh water with a variety of fruit splashes to give it
some extra flavor. Watermelon, lemon, and lime are all popular fruits that you can use to make plain water
more fun.


For picky kids, be sure to supply fresh fruit juices with low levels of sugar and plenty of milk. Did you
know that children over the age of nine need more than 1,300 mg of calcium each day? Help them grow
big and strong with healthy beverages you can rely on.


Encourage healthy activities before and after dinner



Thanksgiving is, perhaps, one of the laziest holidays of the year. Built primarily around eating and
lounging, few people expect to engage in rigorous activity with the thought of a big meal around the
corner. Most guests would rather watch the big football game or talk about cars, like the classic 654
small-block Cobra, than go for a run. Before you fall for this lazy trap, brainstorming some fun, athletic
activities can encourage healthy living in a way that the whole family can enjoy.


There's no sport more popular at this time of year than football. The best part? You only need one piece
of equipment to start the game: the ball. Don't be afraid to go into the backyard or visit the local park as
you wait for the turkey to cook. This can help you kill time and stay active before indulging in one of the
best dinners of the year. You can also encourage your family to go on a post-dinner walk to help aid
digestion and work off some of the calories you just ate.


Avoid alcohol



Staying sober can help reduce your calories but it can also ensure that you stay safe in the kitchen.
Alcohol goes hand-in-hand with the occasional accident and working with sharp knives, hot stoves, and
open flames won't help you stay safe. It's no wonder that 27% of people claim to have visited an urgent
care center in the last year.


Even though our liver is the second-largest organ (after our skin), a little alcohol can go a long way. Just
like sodas should be avoided, alcohol is also typically high in calories, especially if it's mixed into a
sugary cocktail. Your best bet is to save the alcohol for the end of the night when you're not driving home
if you happen to drink it at all. Don't be afraid to drive a friend home if they end up drinking too much.
Alcohol use typically increases during the holidays, making safe driving an absolute necessity at this time
of year.


With these helpful tips, you can stay safe and healthy on Thanksgiving. Even though it's still weeks away,
there's no better time to start planning for the holiday than right now. Rely on these tips and ideas to enjoy
a healthy, delicious Thanksgiving.

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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24