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Thanksgiving & Holiday Wellness

Here are some wellness tips to consider as Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season.

Many of us gain a pound or more during the holidays, and unfortunately these weight gains often become permanent. With a little know-how, we can all satisfy our desires for traditional favorites and still enjoy the holidays healthfully.

Be More Active

Common sense says eating less and exercising more is the best way to prevent weight gain during the holidays. By making fitness activities a family event, like a walk early in the day and then again after dinner, it’s a nice combination of exercise and family time.

Don’t Forget Breakfast

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When your body receives food in the morning, it wakes up your system and warms up your metabolism so it's ready to work throughout the day. Start off with a small, yet sustaining breakfast (whole wheat toast or a bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk), so you won't be starving when you arrive for holiday meals.

Lighten Up

Paying attention to fitter ingredients can make recipes healthier with less fat, sugar and calories. There is often more sugar and fat in recipes than needed, and no one will notice the small difference. Some ideas are using sugar substitutes in place of sugar, reducing oil and butter wherever you can and trying plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles.

Police Your Portions

Holiday tables are attractive displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the options and decide what you're going to choose. Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that are only served during these special times of year. If you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and you will have more room for dessert. Plus, plenty of leftovers will be available the next day. Some of the healthiest holiday foods are white turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Proper portion control can allow you to enjoy a little bit of every item served.

Savor Slowly

Eating slowly and tasting each mouthful is an easy trick for enjoying meals and feeling satisfied with one full plate. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, salads and other foods with high water content can promote a feeling of fullness. Try to spread out food over the entire day, for instance take a few hours off after a meal before serving dessert.

Even Ratio of Water to Alcohol

Alcohol calories can add up quickly. Consider following an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to stay hydrated and reduce caloric intake. For each alcoholic drink, your body can expel up to four times as much liquid. By matching each drink with a glass of water, you’re combating dehydration, drinking less alcohol and making the morning after much healthier.

Focus on the Spirit of the Season

The holidays are about more than just delicious food. It's a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. Busy schedules and extra temptations will be with all of us through New Year’s Day. Striving for weight loss during the holidays will be more challenging than at any other time of year. If you focus instead on maintaining your current weight, you can get 2017 off to a healthy start.

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