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Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

By Sarah S – Jenny Craig

Each year at Thanksgiving, most of us gather around the dinner table and spoil our taste buds, and often our weight loss intentions, with sugary cranberry sauce, salty gravy, and one too many scoops of mashed potatoes.


Is it possible to truly enjoy “turkey day” during your weight loss journey? Absolutely! Use these easy tips to help you stay on track during the long weekend—and get a healthy jump on the holiday season.

Stay active & Make it a Family Affair

You’ve got a few days off…put them to good use! You don't have to make extravagant workout plans to fit exercise into your weekend. Make the most of your time and schedule a class at your local gym or yoga studio. Not only is getting your heart pumping good for your health, it's also a great way to manage stress.1


Thanksgiving_StayActive.jpgOver the holiday, step out of the kitchen for some fresh, crisp autumn air and exercise as a family. Go for a walk before or after dinner, cruise around the neighborhood on bicycles, or organize a fun game of football in the backyard.


Many cities even host “turkey trots” on Thanksgiving Day, making it easy to sign up and get the whole family involved. Most turkey trots donate their proceeds to local charities, so you can feel great about supporting your community while staying fit. If the weather forecast looks fair, planning a hike with your family or going for a brisk walk an hour after the feast are wonderful ways to avoid the post-turkey nap.


If the weather is uncooperative for outdoor exercise, do something active in the family room. Charades are a great way to get moving while having fun!

Eat smart

Thanksgiving_HealthyOptions.jpgThanksgiving's main event is usually enjoyed around the dinner table. But one day doesn't need to derail all the hard work you've put into bettering your health! When you’re filling your plate on Thanksgiving, choose wisely. Use your visual portioning guide. Load up on healthy veggies, choosing steamed or lightly sautéed dishes over creamy casseroles or marshmallow-covered yams. Here’s a tried-and-true plate-filling trick: use one dinner roll to make a turkey-cranberry slider, then fill the rest of your plate with lightly dressed salad or green vegetables. When you're ready for something sweet, stay on track by choosing a Jenny Craig dessert over pie. Our favorites include Apple Crisp and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake!


While it may be tempting to load your plate with seconds, check in with how you're feeling after your meal before going back for more food. Practice mindful eating and you'll be less likely to feel overly full. If you're still feeling hungry 20 minutes after finishing your meal, opt for more veggies or salad to help fill you up. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day.2

Give thanks

Thanksgiving_GiveThanks.jpgTake a few moments to mentally immerse yourself in gratitude for everything that’s going right in your life. Now focus specifically on your weight loss journey: what has giving up unhealthy habits given you back in return? Whether it’s a boost to your self-esteem, or more energy to chase your toddler, let those good vibes wash over you!

So often, Thanksgiving turns into a hectic day spent in the kitchen basting the turkey and baking pie after pie. You might miss out on what the day is actually all about: being thankful for family, friends, health and home. Keep the day simple by recognizing the importance of togetherness, not focusing on the food. If you can, prepare a healthy version of stuffing, salads and desserts the day before, so you can simplify the traditional dinner and spend more time with your family. Gather with your family and friends before you eat to talk about what you’re thankful for this year. You can even be grateful for the progress you’ve made on your weight loss program!

Thanksgiving_CatchUpwithFriends.jpgCatch up with friends

Skip the chip and dip appetizers and fill your pre-dinner time by catching up with friends. You’ll be less likely to munch on snacks if you’re busy socializing!

Avoid leftovers

Let's be honest—one of the most challenging things about Thanksgiving weekend are those amazing leftovers! To avoid being tempted for the next few days, enlist your family’s help: have each member pack up one complete meal, including dessert, in separate containers with their names on them.


After you give thanks, consider giving back to your community by donating canned goods and non-perishables from your Thanksgiving feast. Most soup kitchens and homeless shelters welcome food donations, so find one near you and swing by with your extras.


If you're ready to start making healthy changes in your life, Jenny Craig can help! Contact us to book your free appointment to get started.





[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

[2] https://www.today.com/health/can-you-tell-difference-between-tired-hungry-t103701

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