4 Healthy Habits for a Happy Thanksgiving

The quintessential day of overeating, football and family time, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, just because it’s all about wonderful tasting food and expressing gratitude. We will be celebrating with my brother this year and pretty much everything other than the turkey will be less than traditional. We are traveling to Dallas, I’m making a healthier version of cheesecake, and turkey day will be on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to mixing it up a little but there will be a few rituals we will still follow.Gingered Buttnernut Squash Pie

  • Express gratitude. Yeah, I know that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, but this year, take a few moments and be conscious about it. Reflect upon the last year, what are the good moments worth remembering and share with friends and family. Or, take it a step further and start a gratitude journal. Write one thing you are grateful for every day. I like to end my day this way and it’s an exercise I ask my clients to do on occasion. They are amazed at how much more positive their outlook is on the day. What you are grateful for doesn’t have to be big or monumental either. Sometimes small things matter more. My gratitude statement for yesterday was that I was deeply thankful for driving my new CRV in the pouring down rain. There was a lot of flooding and it would have been a problem in my old car.
  • Be Present. Disconnect from all the electronic devices (including the TV) even if it is just for an hour and be present with the ones you are with. Take this time to laugh, learn something new, reminisce in old memories and create new ones. A great habit to start it to turn off all your electronic devices and the TV at least 30 minutes before bed. Electronic screens keep your brain active in a way that keeps you from sleeping deeply.
  • Don’t forget to chew! Digestion start in the mouth and when we chew enough, everything should be mushy before swallowing, we absorb the nutrients of what we are eating more effectively and you give your body a chance to recognize that you are full. Plus food will taste better! Create a little laughter at your dinner table and challenge everyone to see how many chews it takes for them to chew their food thoroughly. Why chewing is important.
  • Make Healthier Choices. Simple things like substituting coconut sugar (which doesn’t increase your blood sugar levels as much) for white sugar or using coconut oil in baking are easy ways to clean up less healthy dishes and still have them TASTE GREAT. Both are 1:1 substitutions. Add more veggie dishes to your Thanksgiving spread. Check out some of these great ideas I’ll be putting the Beet and Apple Salad and the Farro with Butternut Squash and Pickled Chanterelles on my to make list.

 

A little bonus: Gingered Butternut Squash Pie.. oh My!

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