Fall into Thanksgiving with these Healthy Tips!

Nicole Hinckley, RD, LD

It is that time of year. The holidays are filled with happiness, stress, and delicious foods. Unfortunately, this combination can leave us feeling a bit like we have Santa’s waistline. That’s why I am here to help you stay looking fabulous for your upcoming holiday photos. You never know which one could be on this year’s Christmas card. Here are a few tips and tricks I tell my clients that I have found very helpful to stay on track throughout this wonderful season.

  1. Be aware of the holiday drinks! Oh, it is the time for pumpkin spice lattes and white chocolate peppermint mochas. While these are fun treats to enjoy occasionally, be mindful of what you are consuming. One Grande sized Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha contains 540 calories, 21 grams of fat and 72 grams of sugar. This is over 17 packets of sugar in ONE medium drink. Can you imagine watching someone put 17 packets of sugar into their coffee? Still, enjoy a Starbucks run with your family, but maybe try a Skinny Mocha instead for only 160 calories and 14 grams of sugar.
  2. Be mindful of what you are grazing on! Are you one of those people that take a bite of whatever is on the counter every time you walk by? I know I am, that is why I try to not leave anything out on my counters. However, during the holidays there always seems to be food out and readily available. Instead of munching on a cookie every time you walk past your kitchen island, practice mindfulness. It is easy to tell myself I will eat breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. That way I know I can have that cookie, just at one of my meal times. Chances are, you will consume a lot fewer calories.
  3. Holiday exercise! Do you travel over the holidays? Or maybe people come to see you? Whatever your situation is, the routine is typically thrown out the window during the holiday season. Don’t let that stop you from getting your exercise in. Maybe your exercise for that day is getting 10,000 steps walking around the mall with your loved ones, ice skating, or a game of football out in the backyard. Choose something for that day, and have fun with it!
  4. Structure your plate! You can balance your plate, and still have a delicious holiday meal. Your plate should be half veggies, a quarter carbohydrates, and a quarter protein. A delicious example of this on Thanksgiving could look like half green beans and asparagus, a quarter with a small roll and sweet potatoes, and a quarter with turkey. Add in a few extra calories such as gravy or marshmallows on your sweet potatoes. After all, it is Thanksgiving, but remember to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs.
  5. Bake healthier versions of your favorites! This can be a fun way to mix things up. Maybe you try baking your rolls with half wheat flour and half white flour this year. Sneaking in more fiber can help you feel fuller longer, and prevent you from overeating. Other options could include making a lighter version of green bean casserole, gravy or dressing. Have you tried decreasing the fat and the sugar in your recipes? Can you tell a difference?