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One of the things most people are truly thankful for is good health. But many people sabotage their own well-being by overeating and eating too much of the wrong things on Thanksgiving. On the one day a year that is dedicated to being thankful, we can feel our best by making a few small changes. This year, try a few of these suggestions to help you feel both healthy and blessed.

Eat before the meal.

While this sounds counterproductive, it is a good strategy to have your morning breakfast and then nibble on a fruit or veggie tray or some low-fat cheese and crackers to take the edge off your hunger. Then, when you get to the dinner table, you will make better choices.

Fresh is Best

Following the tradition of celebrating the fresh harvest, look for ways to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies into your dinner and appetizers. If you cook vegetables, quick steam them and leave them a little crunchy to retain the vitamins. Go easy on the seasonings and place salt and pepper on the table for individual tastes. Try substituting plain yogurt for sour cream in recipes or fat-free broth for gravy.

Fruited Water

A sparkling glass pitcher of ice water with fresh fruit slices in it will make a welcome complement to rich foods and will save the calories and artificial dyes found in punch.

Portion Control

Decide before the meal how much you will eat, and limit your portions accordingly. Use the give-and-take approach: if you love potatoes, take a slightly larger helping of them and then cut back on the dressing. Remember the law of diminishing returns: the first bite of something is the best and after that, your satisfaction with the food goes down. Another clever trick is to use smaller plates. Psychologically, you are satisfied with less.

Slow Down

Taking time to talk with family and friends during the meal will help you slow down. Start a new tradition of telling a favorite story or recounting a blessing to help the conversations flow.

Exercise

Getting outside after the dishes are done is a great way to help you feel healthy. Take someone with you and go for a little walk to enjoy the fresh air. Consider playing some outdoor games with the kids to keep you busy, make special memories and burn a few calories.

Keep Your Perspective

Remember to watch yourself-talk if you overeat. Thanksgiving is just one day and you can find ways to exercise and to be careful about what you eat over the next few days to balance your overindulgence. If you shop on Black Friday, take some healthy snacks along so you won’t be tempted to buy fast food or unhealthy treats at the mall.

For some tips on how to produce a festive meal that you will be proud to serve on Thanksgiving Day, visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/Thanksgiving.

Photo credit: iStock/Thinkstock

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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