Looking for healthier approach to holiday eating this Thanksgiving?

Whether you have food allergies or you are just concerned about your health, holiday gatherings can be challenging. 

Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, yet no one wants to feel deprived during the holidays. No need to fear—there are sensible ways to navigate this territory.

Here are some ways you can make sure your holiday is healthy:

1. Cranberry sauce is delicious, but most store-bought varieties are more than 30 percent sugar. Make your sauce from scratch. Use less than two-thirds of a cup of sugar per 12 ounces of cranberries, and opt for organic cranberries if you can. Conventional berries are heavily treated with pesticides.

2. Avoid second (or third … or fourth) helpings. Still hungry? Try waiting before dishing up seconds to see if you’re actually hungry, or simply needed time to digest. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full, so after waiting you might find that you’re no longer hungry enough for that second helping. If you do need more food, stick to high-fiber veggies or a salad on your return trip. 

3. Love pie but not the effects of gluten? If you are short on time, try a gluten-free pie crust.

4. Listen to your body; most people eat particular foods like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving  because “that’s what we do during the holidays.” Don’t use the holiday as an excuse to go all-out. Be mindful of what you’re putting into your body and why; this will help you be more aware of your internal cues of hunger and satiety.

5. Stick to the three-bite rule for desserts: When you really want to indulge, limit yourself to three bites. Why? The first bite is as good as you think it’s going to be, flavorful and delicious. The second bite is also good but not as good as the first bite. By the third bite, the food isn’t going to taste any better, so you might as well stop. In three bites, you get the full dessert experience, so really focus on savoring those three and you’re less likely to overindulge.

6. While food is a huge focus of this holiday, it’s not the only important thing. Remember that this time of year is about family and friends, not just indulgent food. Focus your energy into spending quality time with loved ones.

 Have a healthy holiday!

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