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(Part III) Make Thanksgiving a healthy holiday

Saturday, November 27, 2010 by: Cindy Jones-Shoeman
Tags: Thanksgiving, healthy, health news

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(NewsTarget) Some people might envision Thanksgiving as a swarm of family, one person after another holding a large plate and forking massive piles of meat, vegetables, and gravy over it all, carting it to a table, and inhaling it without much thought. What does the body do with all that food? Well, some foods will wreak havoc on a person's body, but there are good foods to be had at this holiday as well, ones that the body will turn into healthy fuel.

Parts I and II explored meats, refined carbohydrates, sugars, and fats. This part focuses on what's good on the buffet table and emphasizes the importance of exercise (yes, even on Thanksgiving Day).

Healthy Thanksgiving Food Choices

Fortunately, there are some naturally healthy foods on the buffet table as well, and if a person has no say about what's on the dinner table, at least he can stick with better available choices.

Some great foods that people can feel confident eating are things like green salads, of course, providing the dressing isn't filled with sugar or chemicals; a relish tray is usually good as well. Relish trays usually have veggies like celery, carrots, green onions, radishes, and olives. Cranberries (without extra sugar) are a decent choice as well; in fact, cranberries are often overlooked by people except at Thanksgiving, but these little berries are full of Vitamin C and fiber. Finally, green beans and other unadorned veggies are good choices as well.

If a person doesn't have many choices, at least there should be a few like these that are healthy and tasty.

Don't Forget the Exercise

After a filling meal like Thanksgiving dinner, it's tempting to curl up on the couch and take a nap. Some families will instead do the dishes together as a group. It's nice to get the dishes done, but it's not much exercise. People would feel much better if they spent just a little time exercising after filling up with that heavy meal (after getting the dishes done, of course).

Instead of watching football games all day, take a walk instead. Better yet, toss a ball back and forth instead of watching a team do it. Getting one's blood pumping after eating can help in several ways - first off, it's impossible to pick at leftovers if one is nowhere near the table. But it also helps the body begin to metabolize the meal. And moving will make it easier to stay awake and spend more quality time with the family.

A Few More Things to Keep in Mind

Will there be alcohol at the Thanksgiving feast? Many families like to drink wine with the meal. The problem with alcoholic beverages is that they have a low nutritional value; some, in fact, have a higher sugar content than some people may realize.

Also, as mentioned earlier, it's sometimes hard to avoid overeating, particular when leftovers are kept out. Grazing can be common in this case and it can wreak havoc on how one feels later. Avoid overeating if at all possible. Offer to help put all the food away if necessary.

Finally, Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of gratitude and spending time with loved ones. Families and individuals will want to reflect on the things in their lives they are grateful for, including each other. Make sure it is a peaceful, enjoyable, harmonious time, and the food will almost certainly taste better!


About the author

Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101.
Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.

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