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3 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

It's Thanksgiving week! You're probably looking forward to making a great bounty for your family and friends coming together for this special occasion. Here are a few tips to keep Thanksgiving dinner healthy.


Centuries ago, Thanksgiving was about how the founders of America were thankful for their great harvest and being able to survive in the New World (U.S.). Today, Thanksgiving is more about being thankful for a year of God's blessings and the love of family and friends around the table. It's not a lie that you're going to overeat on Thanksgiving, which is fine if it only happens this once and not everyday.

If you and your loved ones are going to fill yourselves up, here are a few tips to make sure you're all chowing down on healthier food this Thanksgiving:

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Remove the turkey skin. Turkey is known to be leaner meat compared to other meats. Removing the skin makes it even leaner – the skin has 482 calories and 44 grams of fat. Removing the skin cuts turkey's fat content by half – turkey breast with skin has 8 grams of fat, but without the skin it only has 4 grams of fat. Throw out the turkey skin instead of giving it to the dog because it can cause inflammation of his pancreas.

Use spices instead of salt. Salt causes your blood pressure to rise because it causes your body to hold on to more water, which puts a strain on your blood vessels. Teens and young adults are better able to rid their bodies of excess salt, but as you get older your body has a harder time. If you or your family members have already been diagnosed with hypertension, increasing their salt intake can complicate their condition. The popular belief that you need salt for flavor is wrong – there are many spices, when blended beautifully together, can make your Thanksgiving dinner more delicious than if you used salt. It's worth looking up recipes that use turmeric, ginger, and garlic, which don't strain your cardiovascular system but actually lower blood pressure and help prevent cancer and other dangerous diseases.

Have a mandatory family jog before dinner. You can make your family and friends burn more of Thanksgiving dinner by making them exercise a little before eating. A short burst of HIIT boosts your metabolism by up to 135 percent for 2 to 14 hours, depending on how long you exercise. So tell everyone that you'd like to do a group family jog around the block or maybe jumping jacks – it will make them burn up to a third more of the dinner they're going to eat rather than their bodies storing it as fat. Also, group activities strengthen familial and friendship bonds – so it works in the spirit of Thanksgiving. According to Horizon Weight Loss Trainers, walking or jogging outside offers more health benefits than indoor exercises, like improved mood and stress-combating benefits. They also say that doctors found that lung cancer patients who walk three times a week experience better sleep and improved quality of life.

Make Thanksgiving dinner healthier this year by following these tips. You'll help ensure your family and friends are around to enjoy many more Thanksgivings!