5 Healthy Thanksgiving Survival Tips

Food. Family. Intelligently wearing pants with a stretchy waistband. Does that sound familiar when you think of Thanksgiving? Whether you travel to a family household or host your own family gathering, I find that Thanksgiving, in particular, is the most difficult holiday to keep your clean eating in check. Brett and I host Thanksgiving every year with Yog and Kathy and do our best to mix some activity in with great food and company. We’ve developed a couple survival methods to defy tryptophan and excessive amounts of pie.

1. Sign up for a Turkey Trot. Most towns and cities offer a variety of 5ks and/or fun runs to celebrate the holiday and earn your rights to turkey. This is a great way to have fun with your family and start a new tradition.


Concord 5k Turkey Trot 2012

2. Make sure you eat prior to the big meal. Don’t fast while waiting for the turkey to sweat it out on the oven. Talk about setting yourself up for post-Thanksgiving meal bloated regret. Go about eating as you normally would throughout the day so you won’t overdo it at turkey time.

3. Avoid the Tryptophan food coma. Regardless of how sleepy we may be post-meal, we ALWAYS go for a long walk. Bundle up (if you need to) and head outside.

4. Eat slowly and in moderation. Enjoy the company you’re with instead of being face first in your plate! The food will still be there, I promise. It takes your body roughly 20 minutes to send “fullness” signals to your body so if you’re attacking your food….there goes a ton of calories. Yikes. When serving food on your plate, keep it simple. Protein roughly the size of your fist, a large portion of veggies and a smaller portion of healthy carbs. The healthiest carbs are those full of fiber: whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and beans. Hey, hey, shout out to our vegetarian/vegan friends! We’re on the right track. Just remember: eat slowly, keep the portions small and stop when you feel full.

5. Have dessert. Just do it. There is no way that you can avoid the pies. Pumpkin? Pecan? Heaven. It’s a holiday and you’re with family. Keep in mind that many Thanksgiving style desserts (like pies) are pretty high in calories. I make a mean Bourbon pecan pie every year that I found via Cooking Light. We do make our own crust that’s super easy, thanks to Brett’s mom. I’ll post about that one tomorrow when I make our house smell like pie 🙂

Most of all, enjoy the time you have with family and friends. We really value this time because most of our family is far away. Hug them and remind them how much you love them.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Cooks on the Run family to yours 🙂



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