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Ready For Thanksgiving Feast? Healthy Tips To Keep In Mind

Thanksgiving is an occasion of feasting with family. Every year on the last Thursday of November, the day is celebrated with delectable meals of seasonal dishes such as pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread and many others. The day was first declared a National holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

As the day is celebrated with most of your favourite dishes, it may cause you to gain some pounds due to high-calorie intake. Also, some of these food items can cause bloating, make you feel drowsy or cause you allergic reactions.

Therefore, before starting with the thanksgiving celebration, it is important to keep in mind some of the healthy tips so that you won't end up with digestive issues. In this article, we will discuss some important health tips to follow before and during the festival. Take a look.

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1. Exercise

Exercising every day should be a part of life. However, experts suggest that increasing the length of exercises at least a week ahead of the Thanksgiving feast helps create a calorie deficit for the day. Meaning, when you start burning extra calories a week before, you actually create an extra place for your favourite foods, without leading to weight gain.

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2. Start with a small breakfast

Skipping breakfast for the big meal may cause you to eat less when it's time. Start with a small and nutritious breakfast filled with protein and fibre. These nutrients provide you with energy and keep you full so that you won't starve till the gathering. [1]

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3. Avoid overloading with alcohol and sweetened beverages

Though alcohol and sweetened beverages are an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving feast, their high-calorie content can't be overlooked. Instead, opt for pumpkin or fruit juices (without sugar) as they are less in calories and also satisfies your hunger. Limit the alcohol to one or two glasses or replace them with low-calorie cocktails. [2]

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4. Use sugar substitutes

With many sugary treats on the table, it is very hard to resist them. This may spike your blood sugar levels and increase the risk of weight gain. The best way to celebrate thanksgiving is by preparing sweet items with sugar substitutes such as maple syrup, honey, yacon syrup or sugarcane juice. They will add a sugary taste to your dishes and won't increase the overall calories. [3]

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5. Choose foods wisely

Reaching out to each and every food and drink on the table is not only bad for your digestion but for your overall health. Choose foods wisely by adding more vegetables (sauteed not fried) such as green beans, mushrooms, thyme and fewer meat items on your plate. Also, prefer adding lemon or pumpkin juice instead of sweetened beverages.

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6. Reach out for soups and vegetables

Soups and vegetables are healthy options when it comes to a feast. Add soups made with tomatoes, onion, mushroom and cabbage and choose healthy vegetarian options such as pasta made with Brussel sprouts, garlic and beans instead of creams.

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7. Opt for a smaller plate

The best way to trick your mind and eyes for a smaller meal is by taking foods in a smaller dinner plate. Though the trick doesn't work for all, to some extent, we can actually limit the portion and calorie intake compared to eating on a larger plate. [4]

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8. Eat slowly

Eating slowly is an effective strategy to reduce food intake. Chewing foods slowly helps reduce our satiety and keep glucose levels at normal while the opposite tends to increase blood glucose suddenly. [5] Therefore, take your time and chew foods slowly before swallowing them.

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9. Spend quality time with family and friend

Thanksgiving is not only about foods but about enjoying the gathering with friends and family. Spend quality time with your loved ones by talking to them and focus less on foods. In this way, you can also limit your calorie intake and stay healthy.

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11. Don’t forget to brush

Last but not the least, don't forget to brush your teeth after a heavy gourmet as it helps prevent the risk of oral diseases such as plaque or periodontitis. Brushing before bed cleans up the leftovers in your mouth and decrease the risk of oral diseases by 20-35 per cent. [6]