Go All IN on your Thanksgiving this year with these healthy tips!

This Thanksgiving, All IN for Health encourages you to make healthy decisions! We’ve teamed up with Rachel Bordogna, a research dietitian from Purdue University, to discuss how families have the potential to incorporate healthier habits into their Thanksgiving celebrations.

We began by having an open, candid conversation about what the traditional Thanksgiving meal looks like nutritionally. Now, we understand that each family is different and have their own unique traditions, so we analyzed a meal that consists of “typical” Thanksgiving dishes. This could include plates like turkey, stuffing, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, bread rolls, pie, etc., for example. While speaking with Rachel, she remarked that the Thanksgiving meal has so much potential to be healthy and balanced, without actually needing to change much. We recognize that nearly any food is okay in moderation. You will see the most value out of your Thanksgiving meal by controlling your portion size rather than completely cutting out your favorite, tasty foods. Thanksgiving is also an extraordinary opportunity to eat slow, enjoy your time chatting with your family and put your fork down in between bites. Practicing this approach will also assist in portion control.

According to Rachel, you can balance your meal with sides like fruit, hearty whole grains and fresh green beans. The way you cook your dishes will improve their overall nutritional value. A lot of times, while we are making the foods on our Thanksgiving table taste good, we are adding a lot of fat and salt. Rachel suggests selecting two or three of the dishes that are going to appear on your Thanksgiving table and really stripping them down and cooking them more simply with fewer harsh ingredients to improve the overall balance of your meal.

There are a variety of reasons why your family may be trying to make a healthy change this holiday — whether it be for medical reasons or because you are attempting to influence the children in your family to eat a more nutritional meal. Rachel suggests that families just getting started in making a healthy change to their lifestyle take baby steps and remember that change doesn’t have to happen overnight. Identify one or two goals that matter most to your family and start with small, manageable changes. This could mean trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet or eliminating heavily processed foods from your diet. You can get your family involved by setting a good example and suggesting they join in on your healthy habits.

It is important to note that Thanksgiving is only one day out of the year and it is essential not to get completely caught up on the nutritional aspect. There are other ways, non-nutrition-related, that your family can be healthy this Thanksgiving. You could wake up the next morning and work out or take a walk together. Indiana also has several Thanksgiving morning races that the entire family can participate in.[Indy Drumstick Dash] [Indiana Thanksgiving races]

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving should be about spending time with your family and enjoying yourself. All IN for Health encourages you to utilize these healthy tips with your entire family this Thanksgiving.

Editor’s note: a special thanks to dietitian Rachel Bordogna for her expert knowledge and recommendations on healthy Thanksgiving tips.