5 Tips for a Mindful and Healthy Thanksgiving

By Lauren Swanekamp, HC, RYT, AADP                        

Thanksgiving is almost here and it is a great time to celebrate family and reflect on what we are grateful for.  However, it’s also a holiday that can encourage overeating of unhealthy foods. If you are tired of the bloat, fatigue and blood sugar crash that accompany this holiday, here are 5 simple tips to enjoy every part of your meal – yes even pie!

1. Move your body

Whatever feels great to you just be sure to move! A brisk, 20-minute walk, yoga, or even some strength training like planks and lunges are all great options – choose whatever you like. The important thing is to move in some way which will help rev your metabolism, improve your digestion, and improve your mood.

2. Have a healthy breakfast

Many people think that skipping breakfast and “saving” calories for a large meal later in the day is a good choice, however, this actually sets your blood sugar up for disaster. Have a balanced, healthy meal with plenty of protein and fiber to help level out your blood sugar, and to take the edge off your appetite. This will set you up for a great mood while greeting guests and allow you to make better choices during your holiday meal.

3. If possible, schedule your holiday meal midday

This gives your body more time after your meal to use the glucose from carbohydrate-heavy foods as energy. Even better if you take a brisk walk after the big meal, make it a family event!

4. Be strategic when filling up your plate

Load half your plate with veggies, add 4-6 ounces of protein such as turkey, and then go for small portions of holiday favorites. This will continue to support your body throughout the day while never having to forgo the dishes you look forward to.

5. Savor and celebrate the company at your table

Center your attention more on family, conversation and connecting. Not only is this a time of year that we focus on food, but it’s also an incredibly special time of year to celebrate with our friends and family and to share what we all are grateful for. Concentrate more on spending quality time together and celebrating the relationships that support us all year round.

Looking for more ideas on how to have a healthier, happier holiday season?

Lauren Swanekamp, HC, RYT, AADP My love for food, cooking, and nutrition stems from my own path of healing from a digestive disorder that left me feeling tired and sick for far too long. After years of working with doctors and nutritionists, it was learning to prepare my own food, cultivate self-awareness, and manage stress that really freed me from the struggle. I now offer nutrition and wellness workshops in addition to teaching group and private yoga classes to inspire and educate my clients to take an active and pleasurable role in their health.

I believe that the true secret to lasting health is not to create rigid diet and exercise plans, but to examine the reasons behind what and why we eat, and how we live our life. There are countless factors that inform our food and lifestyle choices and by considering the whole picture we can create lasting changes and lifelong success.

As a certified health coach and yoga teacher, I have been studying health and wellness since college and am a graduate of institutions such as Lesley University, Kripalu Center’s Institute for Integrated Leadership as well as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.