|(ARA) - No one
wants to be a killjoy at Thanksgiving, but for those
trying to stay healthy, Thanksgiving can provide a slew
of unhealthy temptations. To look forward to this special
day without completely sacrificing healthy habits, you
need strategies that will help ensure you enjoy the
holiday without regret.
"The holidays should be enjoyed, but they are not a
reason to abandon healthful eating habits," says Dr.
Holly G. Atkinson, the medical editor-in-chief of
Everydayhealth.com and a health care professional with
over 20 years of experience. "Balance and control are
critical factors this time of year to make sure we don't
Here are some strategies to help
you stay healthy while enjoying holiday foods:
* Contribute a healthy option.
Offer to bring your own healthy
option so you know at least one item won't be fattening.
It's a thoughtful gift for the host or hostess, and it's
proactive on your part.
* If you fast, you will fail.
Fasting is a recipe for failure.
Total deprivation actually leads to extreme hunger,
cravings, and inevitably, overeating at mealtime. Stick
to regular meal schedules full of good food choices.
Start the day with a nutritional breakfast that ?includes
a protein, like a cheese and veggie omelet, or a low-fat
dairy choice, such as plain nonfat yogurt flavored with
vanilla extract and sugar substitute.
* Leave the table.
When you're at a party, don't
hang out by the food. Socialize in a different room if
you can. Make the holidays about good company and
conversation instead of seconds of stuffing and pumpkin
* Use healthy ingredients.
Slight alterations in both
ingredients and cooking methods can make favorite recipes
healthier without sacrificing taste. For example, use
reduced-fat cheese in appetizers and side dishes. Use
low-fat yogurt, reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream for
dips. Instead of a traditional candied sweet potato
casserole, bake sweet potatoes in the oven until soft.
Replace corn bread stuffing with wild rice stuffing. Use
defatted chicken or turkey broth for basting instead of
melted butter or margarines.
* Choose just your favorites.
If dinner is buffet style, be
choosy. Decide on your favorites before you take any food
and then choose only what you really want. For example,
have a little more creamed spinach but skip the green
bean casserole. Also, fill up on healthier options like
turkey breast. As long as you don't eat the skin, turkey
is a healthy, lean protein choice.
* Don't binge, but do indulge a
Go ahead and have a small slice
of traditional pumpkin pie, a few pieces of dark
chocolate, or whatever family favorite you look forward
to during the holidays. Trying to abstain totally from
treats, not only during the holidays but in your everyday
life, is a recipe for disaster. However, give yourself
boundaries -- have one treat food, and work it into your
calorie allowance for the day.
* Make exercise a family
Instead of just watching the
football game on TV, get out and play a game of touch
football together. Go for a walk after the big meal, play
tag with the kids or try cross-country skiing. If you're
traveling to visit family, don't stop exercising. Take
exercise DVDs with you or pack resistance bands in your
so you can continue to tone up on the road.
For more information on staying
healthy through the holidays and all year long, visit
Courtesy of ARAcontent
Courtesy of Jonathan Forsythe