Keeping it Healthy on Thanksgiving

Is “healthy Thanksgiving” an oxymoron? or can it be a reality?

It’s all about our choices.

What ingredients are we using when we cook? Is there something healthier that we could swap?

What portion size are we serving ourselves?  What types of food are on our Thanksgiving table to choose from that make eating healthy easy…or more difficult?

Who are we eating with and what are their eating habits?  Do you think we are influenced by the eating habits of those around us?  Lots of questions surrounding this topic!

licensed photo courtesy vxla

licensed photo courtesy vxla

As faith community nurses, people look to us as leaders and role models of healthy living.  Since Thanksgiving is a holiday focused on food, this is a great opportunity for us to suggest healthy eating strategies.

I chose the following websites to give you some ideas for encouraging healthy eating on Thanksgiving (and the upcoming holiday season).  Even if we simply raise awareness to some of the ideas, people may begin to think about changing their unhealthy Thanksgiving habits.

We can make suggestions in our personal health counseling, through a bulletin board display, a Sunday bulletin insert, an email to the congregation, or we can host a healthy cooking gathering in the kitchen of our churches to practice some of these ideas.  In my case, I’m going to post some of these sites to the Facebook page for my church.

 

10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving

With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

52 Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

This is a quick and dirty list of simply stated things people can do, organized by main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and drinks.  You could easily choose some to post in a bulletin board display or insert.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of delicious (and fat-filled) holiday foods. So how do you enjoy yourself without completely sabotaging your diet? Follow our diet and nutrition tips to cut calories without depriving yourself of a true Thanksgiving feast.

Five Ways to Create a Diabetes Friendly Thanksgiving Table

Ironically, the most food-centric holiday falls during National Diabetes Month every November…Try these tips to create a diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving table.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes, Menus, and Cooking Tips

With healthy updates to classic dishes, the Thanksgiving recipes showcased here use high-impact flavors like fresh herbs, spices and seasonal fruits and vegetables to minimize the need for gobs of butter, cream and salt. Some dishes are healthy updates on classic dishes, while others are twists on traditional fare.

For the host, we’ve got menus and planners and budget-friendly wines, as well as new ways to use up all those turkey leftovers…

…If you’re not hosting this year, choose from our selection of healthy sides and scrumptious desserts. You’ll find nearly everything here to enjoy a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.

Make Small Changes for a Healthy Holiday – Makeover Your Holiday Plate with MyPlate

The MyPlate Holiday Makeover infographic provides ideas to help you make great choices. From baking to seasoning, this new resource can show you an easier way to make your meals healthier…
…Join us for our MyPlate’s Holiday Makeover series to find quick and easy tips to get you through office parties, neighborhood potlucks, and family gatherings.  Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov, MyPlate Facebook and @MyPlate on Twitter to find more suggestions and tips to help you get through the holidays.
Click photo to go to page with multiple sizes of this downloadable infographic.
Licensed photo courtesy USDAgov

Licensed photo courtesy USDAgov

Our role as faith community nurses is to help others in the change process.  How can we help? 

This TED talk on behavior change from a social science perspective recommends a tangibile, personalized, and interactive presentation of information framed to make your behavior change efforts effective.  The speaker’s focus is on climate change, but the social science behind the techniques are applicable to all topics.  Among other things, she recommends setting expectations, modeling, and connecting to the values and social norms of your people.

If anyone has stories to share of how they’ve helped others eat healthier, especially during the holidays, please tell us in the comments.

Looking for a spiritual health focus on Thanksgiving?

Read my blog, 3 Sites + 3 Videos on the Health Benefits of Gratitude = My Thanksgiving Gift to You.

Licensed photo courtesy  Julie Jordan Scott

Licensed photo courtesy Julie Jordan Scott

About courtholmes

Nurse Practitioner, Faith Community Nurse, Parish Nurse, Certified Wound Specialist, DNP Student at Quinnipiac University, Social Media Enthusiast... Passionate about integrating faith and health! CT Faith Community Nurses on Twitter @CTFCN

Posted on November 22, 2014, in Program Ideas, Resources and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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