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Happy Thanksgiving: Ideas for a Healthier Holiday

We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving in America. What are some ways you can stay safe and healthy?

We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving in America.  This is the day that typically is celebrated by engorging yourself on a variety of food.  This can have a negative effect on your health.  It’s found that all the food eaten at once can spike your blood sugar, increase the amount of inflammation in your body, and can spike your blood pressure, increasing your risk of having a heart attack.  How can you celebrate the holidays without feeling like you’re missing out?

To start with, exercise can help.  Exercise changes the way your body processes the food you take in, and a variety of exercises (i.e. lifting, running, even just walking) can shift your metabolism from storing excess materials as fat, and instead storing them as energy for muscles.

Another bit of advice is slow down.  Not everything needs to be eaten in one sitting, or even day.  Spreading out what you eat over multiple meals can help manage blood sugar.  It gives your body a chance to process what you’ve already eaten, rather than having a whole days worth of calories dumped on it at once.

Another suggestion is to eat more fruits and vegetables. These are low-carb, high-fiber, high-nutrient items that can help fill you up and keep you from feeling like you are missing out on any food.  These can also be made into many fall staples, like acorn squash, sweet potato/yams, carrots, and even green beans.  Many common dishes can also be modified to be less energy dense.  Green bean casseroles can be made with less cream, and more green beans.

One thing, whether you are into healthy eating or not, is to prepare all food safely.  This can mean a variety of things.  Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to make sure any pathogen is dead.  However, in the rush to get everything done in time, you might have accidents with knives and other cooking equipment.  I’d rather my readers keep their fingers attached to their bodies, but that might just be me.  Another accident that can occur is when people deep-fry turkeys.  The dangers of using hot oil is it can catch fire, or burn you.  If you do decide to deep-fry your turkey, rather than roast it in the oven, be careful and follow the directions on how to do so safely.

One important thing to remember is to have fun, and be thankful for the day.  It’s not everyday that many people can have a good time like this.  As someone who is very much into cooking and food, this is one of my favorite holidays.  

What is your favorite dish to eat during Thanksgiving?  Feel free to leave your comments!

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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