Health Advocate Blog

Balancing food and fitness this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, bringing with it the traditional and much-anticipated menu of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and so much more. While the holiday is a fantastic opportunity to kick off the holiday season, connect with friends and family, and express our gratitude for all the things we are thankful for, it also tends to be an opportunity to gorge ourselves at the dinner table. In fact, the average American may eat up to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, approximately twice the recommended daily allowance!

In order to keep this feast in check, you can aim to select healthier options at your holiday dinner, including green beans and sweet potatoes (without the marshmallows!) instead of stuffing and casseroles. However, another, perhaps more appealing, option is to incorporate a fun fitness activity into your holiday. Here are a few ideas to get the whole family involved and avoid falling asleep on the couch immediately after dessert.

Register for a Turkey Trot. These fun runs or races, typically ranging from 5k (3.1 miles) to 10k (6.2 miles), are held on Thanksgiving morning in communities nationwide. You can run, jog or even walk with loved ones to enjoy some activity before the big feast.

Play some two-hand touch. Instead of watching football, encourage everyone to go outside and throw around the pigskin. You could also play Frisbee, volleyball or other team games.

Plan a holiday scavenger hunt. Pre-planning a scavenger hunt around your yard or neighborhood can be a fun way to get your family moving. You could even consider making it a Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa-themed hunt to get everyone excited about the upcoming holidays!

Take a post-meal walk. Go walking with the family after dinner. It gets you out of the house and helps you burn calories, too.

Or try a new indoor activity. If the weather is too chilly or dreary for your liking, check out activities or events at the local community center, like indoor pick-up soccer, roller skating, or a friendly game of basketball, among others.

Maximize your shopping. Heading out for Black Friday sales post-turkey? Park at the far end of the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the escalators to rack up more steps.

There are so many fun ways to stay active on Thanksgiving. We hope you have a happy and safe holiday with your family!