thanksgiving workplace wellness

How to Enjoy a Healthy Thanksgiving Feast

Just to be clear: We don’t mean to rain on your Thanksgiving parade! We’re people, too, and we love a big Thanksgiving feast as much as anyone!

However, we just wouldn’t be doing our job in promoting good health — not only at the workplace through well-run wellness programs, but also carried through the rest of our lives — if we didn’t point out some healthy ways to enjoy a tasty Thanksgiving meal.

WebMD offers “10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving: Enjoy the holiday feast without the guilt — or the weight gain.” Among the guidance:

Get Active: “Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).”

Diekman says: “‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.”

Eat Breakfast: “While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast — such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk — so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering.”

(On this note, a nutritionist told ABC News: “Many people want to save up for the big meal, but it’s important to remember that holiday meals are one meal of many. It’s a time to enjoy good food and great company on a special occasion. Being mindful and making intentional choices helps to make the food experience all the more enjoyable. I recommend starting the day off with a balanced breakfast and even having a mid-morning snack or lunch depending on when the main meal happens.”

Be Realistic: “The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.”

And what about on Friday? To answer the question “How should someone get their diet back on track after Thanksgiving?” TribLive writes: “To get back on track following Thanksgiving, I recommend eating like it’s any regular day. Don’t restrict your food intake the following day just because you over-indulged — this could easily lead to overeating once again. Additionally, drink plenty of water to help with digestion, and restart your typical exercise routine to burn extra calories you may have consumed.”