Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks and celebrating with loved ones. However, all too often this holiday is also synonymous with food! Whether you’re traveling to visit far-off relatives or enjoying a staycation in San Diego this long weekend, chances are you will be faced with the possibility of gaining a few unwanted pounds. But enjoying Thanksgiving does not mean you have to jeopardize your weight and overall health goals.

Follow the 6 easy tips below for a happy, healthy holiday!

Don’t Skip Breakfast
As a holiday centered on food, Thanksgiving is a time when overeating is considered an accomplishment. Many people try to make room for all that extra food by skipping breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving. While this may seem logical, skipping meals – especially the most important meal of the day – can actually make you gain more weight. You’re more likely to snack on unhealthy foods if you’re low on energy and have an empty stomach, and your body is more likely to hold onto fat when hungry.  So what’s your best bet for a fitter Thanksgiving? Start the day off with a lean, healthy breakfast, such as a bowl of oatmeal and fresh fruit or an omelette.

Use Smaller Plates
A huge part of Thanksgiving dinner is psychological – people want to fill their plates with food, so naturally you’re going to eat more with a larger plate. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, look out for everyone’s health by serving dishes on smaller plates. That way, guests are more likely to eat only until they are full, rather than overeating simply to finish what’s on their plate.

Add a Twist to a Classic
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie – with all these delicious Thanksgiving dishes, everyone is bound to have a favorite. Unfortunately, traditional recipes are also high in calories and saturated fat. An average cup of mashed potatoes, for example, has over 200 calories. And that’s just a side dish! Consider a healthier alternative like mashed potatoes made with nonfat milk and low-fat Greek yogurt. And if you’re feeling very experimental, whip up some garlic mashed cauliflower instead.

Avoid Peer Pressure
If you are a guest this Thursday, you could face a challenge if your host has prepared a high-calorie, high-fat feast.  Sometimes, the best option is to say “no thank you.”  While you don’t want to insult your host by not eating anything, you also should not feel pressured to eat a dish because it’s on the table. Don’t forget if your polite refusals fail, you can always serve smaller portions for yourself.

Walk It Out
Touch football is a Thanksgiving tradition for many families, but there are other ways to keep fit and have fun for those less inclined to contact sports. Burn off the excess calories you consume on Thanksgiving with a brisk post-meal walk. Announcing your intention at the start of the meal is a surefire way to get others to join you, guaranteeing that you will stick to your plan.

Schedule a Post-Thanksgiving Workout Date
Thanksgiving is one day only, but it’s also the start of the holiday season, which means more food and less time to exercise over the next month. In order to stay healthy and fit during this busy time, it’s important to adopt a good fitness routine. Working out with a partner is a great way to have fun and stay motivated – deciding not to exercise may be tempting, but it’s pretty hard to cancel on a friend. Make sure to plan a workout date the day after Thanksgiving, so even if you end up eating more than you had hoped for, you won’t feel as guilty.

Are you interested in learning more ways to lead a healthy lifestyle? Explore our Patient Care Support Services  section or call (619) 515-2526 to see what programs are available to help keep you, and your family, healthy and active all year long!