How to eat healthy and happy on Thanksgiving

 Load up on veggies to keep from over-indulging this holiday season! 

Load up on veggies to keep from over-indulging this holiday season! 

Guest post by Bamini Pathmanathan
MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist

Fellow Spears Stronger Bamini Pathmanathan shares her take on how to stay healthy on Thanksgiving while still honoring those traditions we all hold dear. 

Thanksgiving is ONE day. One day dedicated to celebrating and giving thanks to many things in our lives. It is a harvest festival. It is a public holiday. It is a day to watch the Macy's Day parade, to watch football. It's so many things to many people. But the thing to keep in mind is it is one day in the calendar year. 

However, it is a holiday that holds a lot of tradition. Years of traditional recipes and rituals that have been passed on for generations. Because of it's deep traditions, changing the way things are done can be challenging. Changing a longstanding recipe, from your grandmother, can seem like you are letting someone down.  

So what do you do? Everyone's situation can be different. You have to do what works best for you. But here are some helpful hints to get your through the holiday a little healthier. 

If you choose to keep traditional recipes in lieu of a healthier option, here are some tips to work around it for your benefit.

1. Eat small portions. 

2. Fill up on veggies and other healthier appetizers.

3. Choose to do ONLY one serving. Do not return for more.

4. After food has been served, place the items on the counter or somewhere other than the table. 

5.  Fill half your plate with vegetables and the other half with the other items. 

6. If you are hosting, make sure to have enough containers to send people home with food. Do not keep leftovers. After all it is just one day of celebration. 

If you are going to someone's house and you know they keep everything as "original" as possible then: 

1. Eat a little before you go.

2. Have a salad before you go.

3. Eating fruits with some protein will keep you full.

4. Drink plenty of water.

5. Snack on nuts and seeds.

6. Ask if you can bring something and make sure it's something you can eat that's healthy, something that won't ruin all your hard work. 

When it comes to dessert: 

1. You should ONLY pick one that is worthy of every calorie!! Keep to that one only. Enjoy it.  

2. Take small portions of all the options that would equal one appropriate serving size.

3.  Take a dessert you made and know exactly what's in it. Eat that instead of all the other options.

4. Munch on fruits and even dried fruits for that "sweet" option.

The important thing to remember is to enjoy it. You have to feel good about your choices. You should not feel guilty or regretful.

These special days are part of our lives.