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Kick Off the Holiday Season With a Healthier Thanksgiving

SATURDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Lightening up recipes and focusing on family rather than food are just two of the ways people can enjoy a healthier Thanksgiving.

This advice comes from EmblemHealth, a not-for-profit insurer, which offered several tips on how to enjoy the holiday without overindulging, including:

  • Stay active. Taking a walk or playing football can burn calories and become a new family tradition.
  • Don't skip breakfast. A good breakfast can help curb appetite later in the day. People who are not too hungry are less likely to overeat at mealtime.
  • Modify recipes. Making small changes to traditional recipes to cut calories and fat can go a long way. Use less butter and oil when possible. Opt for fat-free chicken broth and fat-free yogurt instead of cream in dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles.
  • Control portions. Avoid going back for seconds and limit portion size.
  • Choose wisely. Only eat the foods that are unique to Thanksgiving and save ordinary foods for another day. Save some room for side dishes and dessert.
  • Don't rush. Eating slowly helps people enjoy their food and realize when they are full.
  • Limit alcohol. Calories from alcohol add up quickly. Alcohol also triggers cravings for high-calorie comfort foods. It's also a good idea to drink some water between alcoholic drinks.
  • Change the focus. Rather than concentrating only on food, remember that Thanksgiving is a holiday about family and friends as well. Find ways to enjoy quality time together, such as playing games or socializing.
  • Don't overindulge. Thanksgiving is a special occasion, but try not to continue indulging throughout the entire holiday season.
  • Be prepared. As holiday shopping kicks into high gear, remember to stock up on healthy snacks, such as trail mix and fruit, and drink plenty of water to avoid resorting to high-calorie fast foods.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more tips for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: EmblemHealth, news release, Oct. 17, 2012

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