HUB holiday tips

Tips for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving from Great Rivers HUB

Great Rivers HUB is a systems change initiative that bridges the gap between health care delivery and the social service sector for cost savings, improved population health outcomes, and increased client experience and engagement. The HUB’s Community Health Workers help their clients improve their health, including goals related to healthy weight.

Here are some ways to help you fully enjoy the holiday and the food while avoiding unnecessary weight gain!

1) Eat breakfast.
This is key! Start with a healthy breakfast with protein! “Saving calories” for the big meal later isn’t how your body works. This method results in over-eating at dinner AND puts your body in starvation mode right before the big meal. When your body is working from starvation mode, it assumes you’re in trouble and its only mechanism for protecting you is to store your next meal as fat!

2) Enjoy holiday foods.
Typically, Thanksgiving brings out some special food that you don’t eat every day. Be sure to fill your plate with the foods that you wouldn’t normally eat so you don’t waste calories on foods you can have all year long. Bonus: these are usually the in-season types of veggies, too! Skip the pretzels, chips and dips, cheese and crackers, and dare we say it — the plain, boring bread roll — or other items that are around every day or at every family event. Instead, look for the seasonal foods, especially the veggies, to load up on your plate!

3) Savor. Every. Bite.
This comes back to being mindful, in general, and is good to practice at any meal. Make sure to eat slowly, putting your fork down between bites and really enjoy the taste of your food. This will not only help you enjoy the meal more but will also allow your body to signal when it is full so you aren’t overloading. Don’t worry if you don’t eat it all — bring home leftovers to eat the next day!

4) Make your plate 50% veggies.
This is another one of those tips that are good to practice all the time. The best type of Thanksgiving plate has half of its contents filled with veggies. A few words of caution: Potatoes are NOT a vegetable, they are a starch… if your veggies are loaded with cheese, thick gravy, or butter, you might want to limit the portion size, and look for other varied options to fill up that half of your plate.

5) Be active. Stay active.
Try a Turkey Trot in the morning, or go on a walk after breakfast… throw around a football before or after dinner… go on an after-dinner (pre-food coma) walk. The key is to make sure to PLAN to do the activity and invite others to join. That way, when it comes time, it will be more difficult to back out or skip. Staying active is important for your body in general but especially with those big meals.

6) Focus on family and friends.
Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food! Making sure your focus is on spending time with family makes it easy to go on a family walk after dinner, or to play games or to chat during dinner while savoring each bite. Ensure the focus is here, and the healthy habits are easier to implement.

Open Your Heart.

Lend Your Muscle.

Join The Movement.