Thanksgiving is full of family, friends, food, and great memories–but it isn't always compatible with a healthy lifestyle or weight management. When Thanksgiving week rolls around, it’s easy to get a little lax with maintaining healthy eating habits, exercise, and sleep habits, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Fortunately, with a few tricks and a little self-discipline, it’s possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the holiday season. Keep reading as we delve into 6 healthy tips and tactics you can use to stay on track this holiday season.
.1. Incorporate Mediterranean Diet Principles
At Procera Health, we consistently recommend the Mediterranean Diet for optimal brain health. The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes non-processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and lean protein sources, including eggs, fish, and fowl. This is an excellent framework for a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving feast. Several Thanksgiving staples – including vegetable dishes and the traditional roast turkey – can fit easily into the Mediterranean approach. Here are seven Mediterranean-friendly dish ideas:
• Charcuterie Board
• Roast turkey
• Roasted brussels sprouts
• Roasted sweet potatoes
• Roasted squash with garlic parmesan
• Apple, leak & mushroom stuffing
• Baked apples or pears with crumble
2. Slow Down During Meals
While the decadent food might make us eager to eat, a key tip to staying healthy over Thanksgiving is to slow down during mealtime. Multiple studies have shown that eating slowly can give our stomachs enough time to send the hormonal signal to our brain telling us that we’re full, which will stop us from accidentally overeating. This can help us maintain better portion control.
3. Take A Walk After Meals
Walking after a meal can give you several distinct benefits. First, you can get exercise at a time when you might not otherwise be exercising as frequently. It can also provide some quiet alone time to de-stress and aid your digestion. All of these factors combined are good for your physical and mental health and can contribute to weight management.
4. Don't Skip Your Workouts
There are a million other things to do, and if you’re away from your home gym, working out can seem even more difficult. Despite that, it’s important to get small workouts in to support your mental and physical health. Exercise can also relieve holiday stress that pops up with family and friends in town.
5. Stay On Your Sleep Schedule
This can be particularly challenging with the increase in parties and guests in town. But sticking to your sleep schedule will improve your quality of sleep both now and after the holidays. Studies have shown that irregular sleep schedules can lead to poor sleep quality, fatigue, poor eating habits, and daytime sleepiness that can take time to reverse. Avoid this by going to bed and waking up as close to the same time as you usually do.
6. Take Time For Yourself
The holidays are full of family and friends, and while this can be a great thing, it can also be draining and stressful. Whether you’re staying with family over this week or just attending a large number of events, remember to take time every day for yourself. Go for a walk, meditate once a day, or offer to go to the store for a few minutes of quiet. Even extroverts need time to recharge.