Eat Well to Be Well: Enjoy Thanksgiving guilt-free with three empowering approaches – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Eat Well to Be Well: Enjoy Thanksgiving guilt-free with three empowering approaches

Feeling anxious about weight gain this holiday season? Here’s how to stop Thanks-guilting and start enjoying Thanksgiving.

This year, don’t allow worries about overeating ruin your Thanksgiving celebration with loved ones. It’s a once-a-year occasion that should be enjoyed without reservation. Instead, recognize that this holiday has several healthy opportunities to take advantage of that can benefit your overall health and well-being. By reminding yourself of these benefits, you can avoid feeling guilty about food and thoroughly enjoy the festivities of this holiday.

Here’s what you need to know to overcome negative emotions associated with holiday food:

1. Be physically active

Here’s a news bulletin you need to hear: Participating in a rough and tumble family football game is optional to earn the holiday meal! However, it’s important to note that engaging in other physical activities related to the holiday also counts towards achieving this goal. Acknowledging and appreciating the various physical activities of the holiday season is crucial.

Here’s a look at “physical activities” you likely will participate in but may not have considered:

  • Cooking. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a time-consuming task requiring much effort. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, standing and lifting weights under 50 pounds are considered moderate-intensity tasks, which can burn around 3.5 to 7 calories per minute. Therefore, spending about 2 to 4 hours preparing food before the main meal could potentially burn 400 to 1,200 calories even before indulging in the feast.
  • Enjoying your family. It is crucial to remember that your body is continually using energy, even when you are not working out intentionally. Daily activities, such as chatting with your friends and family or taking care of kids, can be categorized into different intensity levels. For instance, playing with your kids can be classified as a moderate-intensity activity, while standing is considered a low-intensity activity, which means it burns fewer than 3.5 calories per minute.
  • Cleaning. Hosting a party is always fun, but cleaning up before and after can be a hassle. However, this presents a great opportunity to engage in moderate-intensity activity by finishing those cleaning tasks! If you didn’t host the gathering, why not help the host clean up? Not only will it be good for your physical well-being, but it’s also a great way to cultivate social relationships.

2. Savor healthy Thanksgiving foods

Although Thanksgiving foods may seem indulgent, many contain essential nutrients that benefit your body’s health.

  • Cranberries. These tart berries are an excellent source of the essential nutrient manganese, which is crucial for supporting healthy bones. Furthermore, they boast many antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, that reduce inflammation and combat chronic illnesses. It is worth noting that retaining the skins of these berries is recommended, as they contain significant amounts of fiber that aids in maintaining regularity within the digestive system.
  • Pumpkin. Pumpkins are a rich vitamin A source, vital for maintaining eye, bone, and immune system health. In addition, they offer potassium, a crucial mineral for regulating heart rhythm and water balance in the body. These fall favorites are a natural and nutritious way to supplement the diet with essential nutrients, providing various health benefits that support overall well-being.
  • Sage. Adding herbs, like sage, to a meal can offer significant health benefits. In particular, sage is an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in regulating normal blood clotting. Thus, incorporating sage into one’s diet can positively impact overall health.

3. Practice mindful eating

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to practice mindful eating and avoid guilt about indulging in all those tasty treats. Take a moment and check in with yourself throughout the day, assess your hunger levels, and enjoy the flavors of your food. This way, you can enjoy the holiday without overeating and feeling uncomfortable. It’s also a great way to connect your mind and body and fully enjoy all the season’s joys.

Thanksgiving is more than just a feast for your body; it’s an opportunity to nourish your spirit. It’s a time to spend with your loved ones and reflect on what you’re genuinely grateful for, which can provide the sustenance your soul needs. Remember that a healthy mind and spirit can lead to a healthy body, so taking care of your inner self is important. When you do, your outer self will also thrive.

Celebrating Thanksgiving is simply the best! This special day of the year reminds us to be grateful and show love to those around us. And guess what? You can indulge in all the yummy food without any guilt! Just focus on the fun activities, delicious nutrients, and mindfulness practices to make it an even more enjoyable holiday.

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition from the University of Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and institutional management from Kansas State University. She is a outpatient clinical dietitian for local clinics, and a freelance health and nutrition writer. She is the author of The Nourished Brain: The Latest Science On Food’s Power For Protecting The Brain From Alzheimers and Dementia, The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook and The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook. Visit her website

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