The holidays are here, possibly the happiest and unhealthiest time of year. On Thanksgiving when we’re giving thanks and celebrating friends and family, we seem to put health last. Start a new tradition and make health a priority this year! Why not start the holiday with a Turkey Trot or family fun run/walk in your neighborhood? And eat breakfast, even though you may plan to eat a large meal later. Studies show that exercise and breakfast keep us from eating too much throughout the day. For breakfast try fiber and protein-rich foods to keep you satisfied, maybe a veggie omelet with a side of fruit. And, for the big meal, keep two or three of your family’s favorite traditional holiday foods and scrap the least favorites for fresh veggies and fruit salad. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab suggests that if your table has fewer options, you’re likely to eat less! Try tossing diced pears, persimmons, and oranges with dried cranberries and pecans for a new fall favorite. Yum!
Finally, I have a confession: My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is dessert. To keep from binging too much, my family has a rule. We won’t eat pie right after the big meal; we wait a few hours when we’re ready for leftovers. As strange as it sounds, we eat less this way! Cheers to you, your family, and health!
I bought these beautiful Bosc at the store on Sunday. They will be served as an hors d’oeuvre at Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, topped with parmesan cheese and wrapped in prosciutto (similar to these, but with my own twist). A light, yet savory-sweet prelude to our feast!
To make sure that the pears are at their peak ripeness for the big day, with that honey-sweet flavor that Bosc is famous for, I’ve left them at room temperature in the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter. I’ve been checking the neck daily, and they are going to be pear-fectly ripe for Thursday!
This week I held a brown bag lunch with coworkers to discuss ideas for staying healthy over the holidays. The holidays are hard for everyone; eating healthfully and exercising take a back seat to stress and holiday celebrations that focus on eating and drinking. Although most people only need about 2000 calories per day, the average Thanksgiving meal has 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat!*
I think we should enjoy our celebrations responsibly. Here are some healthful tips to get you through the next few weeks. First, eat a balanced meal before heading to parties, and always have a snack handy. Try a pear with some peanut butter, or carrot sticks and a handful of nuts, to keep you satisfied when you’re fighting crowds at the mall. Next, make eating breakfast a tradition on Thanksgiving! Balance protein, fat, and fiber to keep you satisfied and prevent overindulging later in the day; try a bowl of oatmeal with sliced pears and walnuts for a yummy fall breakfast. Then, get back on track starting the day after Thanksgiving. Eat a wholesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, make time to exercise! I know we’re all busy, but even a brisk walk for ten minutes three times a day will benefit your stress level and your waistline. Be thankful for your health!
*American Council on Exercise, http://www.acefitness.org/pressroom/436/ace-reveals-average-person-will-consume-3-000/