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Tips to thrive this holiday season

Are you ready to thrive this holiday? Let’s do this!

With the holidays come a few challenges such as 1) all the traditional foods and family favorites that can leave you feeling deprived if you don’t have a plan and a good mindset as they near, and 2) concern about navigating it successfully if you’ve worked hard all year to move toward a health-promoting lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help you tackle these challenges so that you can create a permanent shift in your Thanksgiving traditions that are sustainable for years to come.

Tip 1: Eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal

Food plays a major role in Thanksgiving celebrations. No Thanksgiving Day would be complete without the traditional meal. I suggest you modify your traditional Thanksgiving must-eats with new versions that would align with your long-term goals.

  • Stuffing/dressing. Modify your recipe to a low-carb version by replacing the bread with cauliflower. Or find a new favorite stuffing recipe by searching for “cauliflower stuffing recipe” online. There are also a lot of delicious lower carb sausage-based stuffings to try.
  • Roast turkey. Stick to a portion size that doesn’t compete with Paul Bunyan and don’t overeat. You can choose turkey as your protein option for days to come – there is no urgency. And don’t forget, you can eat turkey all year round.
  • Cranberry sauce. Omit the cranberry sauce altogether and drink a zero-carbohydrate cranberry beverage with your meal instead. Think Spindrift’s Cranberry Raspberry sparkling water or La Croix’s Razz-Cranberry.
  • Green bean casserole. Switch to blanched French green beans with butter and herbs instead of doing another rich dish like green bean casserole. Green beans are pretty low carb anyway, so if this dish is a must just choose a recipe that doesn’t have fried onions or breading.
  • Mashed potatoes. Introduce your family to mashed cauliflower. Very quick and easy to make and the flavor will not disappoint. Search online and you’ll find many recipes.
  • Brussels sprouts. Like the green beans, keep them simple. Slow roasted in the oven with salt, pepper and garlic; they bring enough flavor on their own.
  • Pumpkin pie. Replace your pumpkin pie with a crustless version that is not sweetened with sugar and contains no grains. Another idea is to make pumpkin pudding instead of a pie.
Tip 2: The food doesn’t have to define the celebration

Let your family and friends gather around the table to celebrate together. Make them the centerpiece of this annual holiday. Take to heart that the food doesn’t define the celebration, but rather the people you are surrounded by.

Tip 3: Join a Turkey Trot

A Turkey Trot is a footrace held on or around Thanksgiving Day. It can be a competitive race or a fun run/walk. Why not start off your morning with a fun run/walk with your family and friends? Animas Surgical Hospital is putting one on this year!

Tip 4: Take stock of your harvest

What have you harvested this year that you’re grateful for? Write your gratitude list at some point during the day as you reflect on the past year. Share your highlights with guests at the dinner table. Make this your centerpiece of focus over the food.

Tip 5: Take a nap

If you don’t have the type of schedule that ever allows you to nap during the day, why not indulge in a little power nap at some point during the day? Consider this as a self-care ritual for the day. If you’re not a daytime napper, why not go to bed early at the end of the day and get eight hours of rest?

You've got this, I know you do! Cheers to you and a happy and healthy holiday season!

Ashley Lucas has a doctorate in sports nutrition and chronic disease. She is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the founder and owner of PHD Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. She can be reached at 764-4133.