Thanksgiving dinner may not sound so bad on the surface, and in a way, the main components of this large feast, such as the turkey, baked potatoes, and other items, are, in fact, healthy. However, this day is known as a day of splurging, overeating, and food comas make it a national pastime for gaining weight during the holidays. Luckily, with the right tips up your sleeve, you can have a healthier Thanksgiving that won’t hurt your weight or your budget.
Why Holiday Weight Gain is A Problem
Holiday weight gain refers to the average five pounds or more that most Americans gain in between the periods of Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This huge fluctuation in weight gain ultimately contributes to the overall average weight that adults throughout the US gain over the course of the entire year. While five pounds doesn’t sound terrible on the surface, if you consider how little people exercise today to remove weight, then that weight gain isn’t reversed but rather compounded into unhealthy proportions that are damaging to our health and quality of life.
While this isn’t the sole cause of today’s obesity rates, being overweight or obese can affect all aspects of our lives and lead to a poorer quality of life. This complex health issue results from numerous causes and factors and ultimately can lead to an increased risk of the following health conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
- High LDL Cholesterol
- Gallbladder Disease
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Sleep Apnea
- Multiple Types of Cancer
Most cases of obesity often result from behaviors and life choices, as regular activity and healthy eating are the only ways to prevent and remove excess weight gain. It is recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that adults partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity to stay healthy. As for healthy diets, taking extra shares of stuffing and cranberry sauce doesn’t help with weight loss either way.
How To Stay Healthy During Thanksgiving and Beyond
Thanksgiving is often a time to celebrate and enjoy a well-cooked meal with family members and loved ones, and during this time, there are plenty of ways you can stay healthy. Here are our suggestions for avoiding that uncomfortable turkey-and-stuffing coma and feeling great on Thanksgiving day:
- Eat Your Three Meals a Day: Eating your breakfast and lunch before your Thanksgiving dinner can help curve cravings for seconds and avoid that dreaded food coma.
- Exercise Before Your Meal: If you exercise for the day, you’ll be less hungry for dinner and feel good about working out your body.
- Switch Out Favorites For Vegetables: Instead of grabbing stuffing and green bean casserole, switch it out for seasoned vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
- Try Whole Grain Options: If you plan on making bread and stuffings, you can work with whole-grain options that are just as tastier.
- Grab Seconds with Smaller Plates: Taking smaller portions overall means you can go for seconds with your health in mind.
Thanksgiving is a nice, long-drawn-out meal that many people celebrate, and following these tips during this time means you’ll avoid weight gain during the holidays, keeping your body happy and healthy.