11 tips for enjoying Thanksgiving a healthier way

Exercise Before You Eat

When you just want to relax and enjoy the day, working up a sweat before dinner sounds like a terrible idea. However, working up a calorie deficit can help you enjoy your big meal while keeping your calorie count intact. For next year, working out ahead of the holidays and burning calories in advance can allow you to take it a bit easier next season.

Eat Breakfast

Many of us prepare for the big dinner by eating a whole lot of nothing so that we can go berserk when the meal is finally served. We want to save our calories for dinner, and it’s understandable. However, eating a small breakfast can help you make smarter choices when you finally pull up to the dinner table.

Use Substitutes in Your Recipes

If you’re bringing something to a dinner or you’re the cook this year, cooking lighter can help you have a healthier holiday. Add veggies to your stuffing and avoid the Stove Top boxes. Ease up on the oil and butter. How about going for a sugar substitute if you’re making desserts? Substituting the oils, the fats and the sugars can go a long way.

Roast Your Sweet Potatoes

By roasting these bad boys, you are easing up on the fat and calories. And instead of using honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and the like, why not opt for agave?

Avoid Canned Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is delicious, but high in sugar. As of late, many people have been ditching the standard canned sauces for fresh takes made at home. If you need some zest-filled options, check out these recipes.

Get Your Drink On

Not in the way you think, though. The calories in alcohol? They can add up pretty fast. Have a drink and have some fun, but for most of the day, indulge in water. It can help slow down your appetite and even allow you to figure out, as you wait for dinner, if you’re actually hungry or if you’ve just been thirsty.

Dine With a Plan

If you’ve stressed yourself out with the idea of possibly overdoing it and go into dinner with no plan, you likely will overdo it big time. But if you know what you will eat, what kind of portions you will enjoy and stick to that, you should be fine. It’s much better than getting to the dinner table and saying, “You know what? I’m just going to try some of that too…and that…”

Go for White Turkey Meat

Everybody loves dark meat, but white meat is leaner.

Indulge, but Just Once

By that we mean, chill out on seconds. Our eyes are bigger than our stomach when it comes to Thanksgiving. Plus, the fancy placing and colors of all the food can make us think that filling up our plates one mo’ gin is just fine. Don’t do it. Besides, you need to save room for some dessert!

Fit in a Brief Workout After Dinner

I would encourage you to maybe go for a walk after dinner, but if that’s too much for you, a short workout on Black Friday before all that shopping can help you get your burn on. A good workout, whenever you can get one in, is a must. It’s better to do a little something than to just let that food sit and settle.

Go Easy on Yourself

At the end of the day, if you do have more than one slice of pie or you just can’t help yourself and overdo it on stuffing, it’s not the end of the world. Be realistic and know that you probably won’t have a big weight-loss moment during the holidays. Focusing on maintaining your weight and giving yourself a break if you go too HAM on the ham (get it?) is the best idea. Plus, it’s Thanksgiving, not just any ordinary day. Enjoy!