The Lighter Side of Thanksgiving

Welcome back, Jessica – Thanks for blogging for us again!

In true Walker Tracker style, we’re happy to advocate for a balanced approach to enjoyment and wellness during the holiday.  That means spending quality time with your family, friends and community, staying active, and having a ton of fun along the way. Check out the post below for tips and tricks from Jessica Lin to lighten your holiday.

Cheers!

Thanksgiving kicks off the Holiday season with a bang and sometimes it can be the start to a downhill slide on the health scale as we flow into Holiday + New Year celebrations. It’s super important during this time of the year to find a balance between everything. When we get over stimulated or stressed we oftentimes find our otherwise healthy habits beginning to slip. With family, friends, co-workers, parties, vacations, travel and the pressure of the end of the year upon us, I hope to share with you a few things to stay in tiptop physical and mental state to remain on a positive path as we move into 2018. We all know there’s nothing worse than starting your New Year feeling like crap, weighing an extra 10 lbs, and embarrassed from our over drinking at the company holiday party.

The most important thing to remember during this time, heck all of the time, is to stay balanced and know that you don’t have to do it all. This time of year it’s about enjoying your time with your loved ones and allowing yourself time to reset before we head into a New Year. Here are a few ways to stay healthy and sane over the next two months!

Take time out for SELF-CARE. In the midst of all the planning, prepping, and partying it’s easy to get caught up and have your feet swept off the ground. Stay rooted by scheduling time for you. What makes you feel shiney and new again?

1. Warm bath/ soaking tub action (If you’re in Portland, OR, I highly suggest treating yourself to a day of soaking and relaxing at Knot Springs)
2. Curl up and catch up with someone you love over tea/ fire
3. Light candles or a fire and leave the screens for an hour to connect with your friend and family, share stories and some laugher
4. Dive into a new book and take time each night before bed to read

With so much eating going with dinner parties, large family gatherings, holiday meals, etc. it’s easy to feel bloated, heavy, and uncomfortable; to not feel your most fit and healthy self. We can derail our healthy eating habits quickly over the next two months but it’s super easy to stay on top of it with a few simple changes. If you’re bringing any dishes, or you’re the captain of the ship and cooking the whole meal, here are a few easy swaps to help keep your holiday dishes on the ‘lighter’ side without losing any flavor integrity.  

  • Skip excess butter or use a butter substitute such as ‘I Can’t Believe it’s NOT butter’ or vegan butter (my preference) – taste is just as great and is ½ the calories
  • Dress your turkey
    • Turkey
      • Use pomegranates, oranges, clove, vegan butter, dash of EVOO and spices to give your turkey the perfect golden brown and highest level of juiciness (stick the cloves in the skin of the bird, melt butter with EVOO and mix with oranges/ poms to coat the bird, then sprinkle with herbs and spices, slice the oranges and ¼ the poms and put them into the roasting pans with everything)
    • Stuffing
      • Use gluten free bread for the stuffing and rice flour to make gravy over gluten heavy flour and breads


  • Make your mash with light sour cream or vegan sour cream over heavy cream
    • Sour cream is my favorite since it enhances the flavor and gives your taters a kick
    • Keep skins on the potatoes to get the most nutrients from your food!
  • Use a dash of Jacobson salt at the very end to reduce sodium intake and make food taste AMAZING!
  • Use fresh herbs to increase flavor in your dishes so less salt is necessary over all

The most important part of staying on track over the next two months is remembering to use some portion control, drink water as well as wine with your meal, and pace yourself as you enjoy all of the amazing food. If you allow yourself time to ENJOY each bite, it may end up saving you a second serving and a few hundred calories. No matter how you end up eating, remember to move and you’ll find a way to balance everything and bounce back after the New Year a little quicker than those who don’t!

Take a post Meal take a walk with your family. Resist the urge to sit and wallow in your overindulgence. I highly suggest taking a break between your meal and pie to walk away from the table, put on your coat and get outside. It doesn’t have to be a long walk but get everyone in the family to join, it’s a nice moment to connect with each other, enjoy the change of seasons, and to digest. By taking this time to walk between courses you will allow your food to settle so you can feel your fullness and not push yourself to over-indulgence. I learned this from my Grandmother and we always take a little walk around the block after we eat to connect and enjoy each other with full tummies and happy hearts.

Play a game post pie – my suggestion is to put on some music and play a game that requires a little bit of movement and tons of laughter. Did you know that laughter burns 3 calories a minute?! Some of my favorite food-coma fighting games are:

  • Charades
    • Create your own categories and clues and break into teams
      • Male v female
      • Generations
      • Cousins V. Aunts & Uncles
  • Cards Against Humanity – great for a good laugh – older crowd only
  • For children give them an opportunity to put on a post-meal performance
    • Gives them something to do before the meal to connect with each other
    • Post meal excitement and “dress rehearsal” while the ‘adults’ go for their post-meal walkabout
    • Memories to last a lifetime

The holidays are a time to come together and that should always remain at the forefront of this time of the year, but there is no reason why you can’t stay focused on your health goals as well. Don’t let the Holidays plow you over or derail you. Tap into yourself and allow yourself balance and control over these next few weeks. If you indulge in food make sure to move, if you drink to excess make sure to hydrate and sweat to help the body to detox. There are so many ways to find balance and all of them are fairly simple, you just have to allow yourself a little time and space to see where and how you can make them work for you.

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