Wellness 101: Eight Rules to Keep You Healthy Despite the Holidays

By Annie Kim

On average, Thanksgiving dinners have more than 3,000 calories, and it’s easy to see why, with all those scrumptious pies, candied yams, endless turkey stuffing and creamy casseroles. Many of us sit back, get comfortable, and consume over 6,000 calories during turkey day. This definitely will not do your waist line any good.

With that in mind, now would be a good time to try and eat healthier this Thanksgiving.

Rule #1: Don’t come to dinner hungry. Make sure you have a healthy and substantial breakfast and lunch such as oatmeal or scrambled eggs. Therefore, you will avoid feeling famished, which would lead to you overeating at dinner.

Rule #2: Don’t skip your workout. Wake up in the morning and go for a light jog, play some basketball with your buddies or take your dog for a walk. Whatever you do, be active. Staying active and pursuing your workout may suppress your hunger and may stop you from reaching for that tempting second slice of pumpkin pie.

Rule #3: Swap the white potatoes for sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes are loaded with cream and butter. It’s partner in crime, gravy, doesn’t make things any better. The two tummy busters go hand and hand. A serving of mashed potatoes and gravy can rack up to be a whopping 450 calories. Instead, reach for sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are significantly more nutritious than white potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain beta — caratene, vitamin C, and age- fighting antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are delicious and health, a win-win situation!

Rule #4: Organizing your dinner plate. It’s not possible to control the ingredients put in to your meal, but you can definitely control how much you stack on to your plate. Pile half your plate with steamed vegetables, a quarter for lean meat (avoid eating the fatty turkey/meat skin) and the leave the rest for your favorite starchy carbohydrates.

Rule #5: Drink water, lots and lots of it! Water does wonders for our bodies — keeps our skin clear and cleans out our systems. A really simple way to save calories is swapping out the alcoholic and soft drinks for a cup of cold sparkling water. Don’t forget, the little changes add up and will make a difference.

Rule #6: Sip on red wine. Okay, I get it. It’s break and drinking water isn’t going to cut it. While cocktails and margaritas can add unneeded calories, red wine delivers heart-healthy properties coupled with the most antioxidant bang for your calorie buck (about 100 calories per five-ounce serving).

Rule #7: Make dessert healthier. My friends and I normally have a Thanksgiving potluck. Instead of buying a pie from the grocery store, why not plan to make your own pumpkin pie? Try using non-fat milk rather than the traditional full-fat cream, along with low-fat whipped cream. This will cut out a huge portion of your calorie content.

Rule #8: Sprinkle on the nutmeg and cinnamon. These spices do more than just add in the holiday flavor to our foods. Research says nutmeg and cinnamon can help you lower your cholesterol and maintain insulin levels in the blood. Add some cinnamon with sliced apples or nutmeg to your coffee, yum!