Stuff the Bird, Not YOURSELF this Year: Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Stuff the Bird, Not YOURSELF this Year: Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Turkey…cranberry sauce…mashed potatoes…stuffing…and pie– OH MY! 

Every year around Thanksgiving it seems to be people who are getting stuffed, not the bird on the silver platter. Studies have shown that most Americans will gain just over one pound during the holidays (between Thanksgiving and New Years). While that may not seem like a lot, experts claim that those pounds are unlikely to be shed. So weight is being packed on, pound by pound, year by year.

So what are you supposed to do? You can’t ditch the festivities and grand meal to avoid unhealthy living. This IS Thanksgiving after all–a time to celebrate FEASTING

Well Jolly Llama is here to grant you enlightenment so you won’t sabotage your health this Thanksgiving. So, behold and FEAST your eyes on these tips to enjoying a happier, healthier, Thanksgiving meal: 

Serve Appetizing Foods

Don’t roll your eyes at this tip. Of course appetizing foods should be served at Thanksgiving! But appetizing doesn’t equal junk food. To help your dishes be more appetizing, try incorporating more vegetables to give some good variety. Also, make your meals colorful! Believe it or not, we can taste with our eyes. Psychology shows that colorful foods make us happier, allowing us to enjoy the food more. 

Smart Substitutions

Think you can’t enjoy the dessert table? Think again! Desserts are often packed with more sugars than necessary, so try halving the sugar, or even substituting out the sugar and replacing it with a low calorie sweetener, like honey or ripened bananas. Or, you can always reach for a Jolly Llama Sorbet Pop to get your fix. These low calorie, low sugar pops are made with real ingredients and will satisfy those sweet cravings. Want a little a ‘la mode to go with your pie, but don’t want ice cream? Our Coconut Cream Bars are the perfect substitution. Pick up a couple of boxes of your favorite flavors today and let your guests experience nirvana. 

Oil can be substituted with fruit purees (like applesauce) in your baked goods without sacrificing any flavor, cauliflower mashed potatoes are a much healthier alternative to regular mashed potatoes, and casseroles requiring cream can use low fat plain greek yogurt instead. 

Whatever you decide to make, try making them healthier by reducing the fat, sugar, and calories in your recipes. (For more healthy Thanksgiving food ideas, click here.)

Get Moving

For years people have explained that the tryptophan from turkey caused sleepiness. However, that’s a complete myth. What IS true is that overeating can cause fatigue because it causes the digestive process to work harder. To counteract this, eat well to boost your energy levels, and be active.

Portion Control

Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Before you lunge to the table faster than a kid in Disneyland, remember to slow down. That food won’t disappear THAT quickly. Mentally plan what foods you will eat. Use a smaller dish to make it appear like you’re eating more, and try to cover one-third to two-thirds of your plate with vegetables and fruits. Take small bites and learn to really savor each bite. It’s not an eating contest. The food is MEANT to be enjoyed!

In addition, limit any alcohol consumption, and try drinking lots of water during your meal to help you feel satiated. 

Resist returning for seconds. Yes, the food may look tempting, but you’ll really regret going back for seconds and thirds. 

Eat Breakfast First

Make sure you’re not entering the big feast on an empty stomach. Experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. For breakfast choose to eat a small, yet sufficient healthy breakfast like oatmeal or an egg with whole wheat toast.

Be Easy on Yourself

Sometimes we go in with high hopes of resisting any form of unhealthy food, but alas, you taste something that you can’t resist and lick the bowl clean. Don’t punish yourself or beat yourself up over this.  It will only cause you more stress, and domino you into overeating. Focus on enjoying the day, and don’t be so enveloped in trying to maintain your diet. It’s one day that’s not going to slap on 50 pounds. 

Enjoy the Company, Too

Contrary to what many may say, Thanksgiving is about more than the rows of cream pies, sweet potatoes, and  buttery rolls on the table. It’s about spending quality time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Focus on enjoying your time with them, not on all the limitations you’ve put out for yourself. 


Have a healthy Thanksgiving!

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