Gaining weight during the holidays does not have to be a family tradition. In the event you’ve made it past Halloween without “testing” too much of your trick-or-treaters’ bounty, then next on the path of holiday health hurdles is Thanksgiving. A cynic might say that, compared with Christmas, Thanksgiving has all the calories and none of the exercise, even though hectic holiday shopping might begin on “Black Friday.”

The opportunities to make Thanksgiving healthier are simple and plentiful. They only call for us to look at some old, familiar things a little differently.

Same Foods – Different Preparations

Who knew sweet potatoes could be so good without brown sugar in the recipe? It’s not so much the foods we eat at Thanksgiving that are challenging, but rather the traditional preparations. The respected Cleveland Clinic has published a fast and helpful infographic, “Serve This, Not That,” which can be a great door opener and thought starter.

But rather than thinking about preparations deprived of familiar ingredients, it might be a better idea to think like a chef, in terms of enterprise and adventure. Butternut squash has all the color of candied yams – without the “candied.” Apple-cider gravy tastes like the season without tasting like the bird. Recipes that break with tradition while giving a new slant on enjoyment are plentiful.

Portion Size

It might sound boring, but portion size is the clearest opportunity for saving calories at Thanksgiving, and it’s something you can practice even as a guest. You don’t have to oversee the kitchen to just look at your plate differently this Thanksgiving. In fact, seeing a bit of plate in between the holiday delights is a good start on better-sized portions. The University of Texas MD Anderson Center composed a handy Thanksgiving portion size cheat-sheet.

You know, not only the recipes, but also the portions we came to expect at Thanksgiving grew up when most of us worked hard physically, outdoors, for as long as the sun was up. We can’t expect to eat the way our forefathers did, when 80% of the nation farmed the land, and not grow supersized ourselves.

Real Holiday Cheer is Calorie-Free

Alcohol consumption rises during the holidays. It just seems to go with the gathering and the celebrating. But it’s not really a requirement. Thanksgiving is, perhaps, not considered a drinking holiday universally, as much as, say, New Year’s, or even Christmas. Not only is the full spectrum of family age-groups at the table for Thanksgiving, but in addition, some regions don’t connect wine and beer so closely with turkey dinner.

Unfortunately, the night before Thanksgiving has evolved in recent years into “Drinksgiving,” and the social expectations around it can be pervasive. Regardless of the traditions in your family and your part of the country, passing up the drinks at Thanksgiving is not as tricky as you might think. We’ve found that few, if any, notice whether you’re taking part or not when drinks are served, and those who do, don’t remember long.

A low-alcohol Thanksgiving not only cuts a lot of empty calories out of the picture, but also increases your protection from the greatest and most immediate health hazard of the holidays – driving to and from your destination.

We’d be glad to help you take even better care of what you’re most thankful for, at Thanksgiving and throughout the year. Just call us at 843-815-6468.