Parkland Medical Center - November 25, 2019

Focus on fun and family — and good food in moderation

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season for many families — and setting a course for overeating and inactivity can lead to big regrets later. This year, start the season off right with a new healthy tradition or two.

You can still have Thanksgiving dinner and watch the game, but you’ll probably find you enjoy the day more if you use moderation and have a bit of active fun. Here are some ideas that may spark more of your own:

  • Sign up for a turkey trot. Across the country, many cities and organizations hold 5k, 10K or half marathon runs, labeled ‘turkey trots’ on Thanksgiving Day. Often, they benefit charity or a worthwhile causes. Put together a team of family and friends and make it an annual event. You don’t have to get competitive -- just have fun outside and get moving.
  • Have a healthy breakfast or brunch. Starving yourself will only lead to binge eating. Sit down for breakfast and put out healthy snacks such as raw vegetables to munch on during the day. You’ll be less tempted to binge later — and you can savor your meal instead of gobbling it up.
  • Have courses. Consider starting dinner with a course of light soup or salad before the turkey and sides. It will give you more time for conversation, and leave less room for high-fat foods during the main course.
  • Get outside and enjoy the fall weather. Go for a walk, play a friendly game of football or take the kids to a playground before or after your meal.
  • Savor every bite. Thanksgiving is a good time to practice eating mindfully, with gratitude and appreciation. Slow down a bit and notice the flavors, and enjoy spending time with family or friends.

It’s okay to enjoy a fine meal and watch the game. Just use moderation and consider a new tradition that reflects your healthy lifestyle. You’ll still have fun — and you’ll thank yourself later.

Is extra weight hurting your health? Take the quiz at to find out.