6 Holiday and Thanksgiving Tips to Stay Healthy

by | Nov 16, 2023

We rounded up 6 holiday and Thanksgiving tips to stay healthy throughout this festive time of year. 

These healthy holiday tips will help you navigate the season while sticking to your health goals and feeling your best! Many holiday traditions and celebrations revolve around food, drink, and merriment, meaning you may find it difficult to stick to your health goals.

As you will see, these healthy holiday tips are not about restriction or deprivation. The Mediterranean diet is a lifestyle pattern and balanced way of living that we can embrace through the holidays. 

I help clients focus on small, realistic behaviors, especially during the holiday season. And guess what? These simple, healthy strategies work because they are sustainable. 

People following the Mediterranean diet find that they can continue eating their favorite holiday foods (yes, that means pumpkin pie!) without feeling out of control. Instead of following a “perfect” diet leading up to the holidays and then going crazy on Thanksgiving, these strategies will help you feel your best long-term.

How Can I Make My Holidays Healthier?

I’m glad you asked! The holidays can be a great time to prioritize your health goals. We often have a little more flexibility in our schedules. And best of all, many of these tips can be done with friends and family who can be great partners on our wellness journey. 

These six Thanksgiving tips to stay healthy are important this time of year… and the whole rest of the year! 

1. Get In Some Regular Movement

When the temperature drops, it can be harder to motivate yourself to get outside to get some exercise. But staying active and getting some movement in daily is so good for both your physical and mental health (hello, endorphins!). This winter, make it a priority to get in some exercise most days of the week.

2. Don’t Skip Meals: Start Your Day With A Balanced Breakfast

Skipping meals to “make up” for a big meal later in the day always backfires. Restriction prior to a special meal often leads to more cravings and overeating. Instead, eat regularly timed, nutrient-dense meals so that you don’t sit down at the dinner table starving.

And on that note, having a well-rounded breakfast balances blood sugar so that we have sustained energy to power through our morning. Research shows that high-protein breakfasts reduce hunger throughout the day and set people up to eat fewer calories overall. 

Our Busy Morning Egg Muffins are packed with satiating protein!

eggs, muffins

Busy Morning Egg Muffins

These versatile egg muffins make the perfect busy morning breakfast. We recommend making these in advance on the weekend and popping them in the fridge (or freezer) so that all you have to do is reheat them in the microwave when you wake up.
View Recipe

3. Snack Smart

During the holiday season, when we are surrounded by sweets, it’s even more important to choose a “smart snack” or one that contains a mix of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. This combination is what keeps us full and satisfied and prevents overeating later on. 

Our favorite combinations? 

4. Stay Hydrated

When celebrating the holidays with an alcoholic drink or two, it’s so important to stay hydrated. Aim for 8-10 glasses of water per day. 

Carry a water bottle with you at all times and fill it up regularly so you can stay on top of your hydration goals throughout the day.

5. Practice Mindful Eating

You may feel out of control around your favorite comfort foods and holiday treats. While eating these foods is totally okay as part of a balanced diet, knowing when to stop is important too! 

Mindful eating is a big part of the Mediterranean diet, and practicing mindfulness at the dinner table can help you eat until satisfied and not stuffed!

Haracha Bachi Bu is a Japanese term meaning “Eat until you are 80% full.” This is great advice for anyone struggling with overeating because it instructs you to stop eating when you are no longer hungry but not yet stuffed. The term originated in Okinawa, one of the cities in the world where people live the longest and are the healthiest, so there’s got to be something to it!

6. Make Time For A Mindful Moment

Extending mindfulness beyond the dinner table is a good idea too! Mindfulness is the ability to be fully aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and current environment without becoming reactive or overwhelmed by our current environment or situation. 

Research shows that mindfulness may help:

  • Decrease anxiety and depression
  • Improve sleep and immunity
  • Support overall well-being

This holiday season, we encourage you to take just 5-10 minutes before your day starts to have a ‘mindful moment.’ Whether you pray, meditate or simply reflect on your day ahead or the day past, find a practice that works for you.

6 Holiday and Thanksgiving Tips to Stay Healthy

How Do You Stick To Healthy Eating During The Holidays?

Now that we’ve gone over the 6 Thanksgiving tips to stay healthy, let’s put them to practice with an example. 

Imagine this: you arrive at your sister’s home for Thanksgiving and see the counter of endless sweets, casseroles, roasts, and pies. You feel overwhelmed and anxious about overeating. You don’t want to get to that uncomfortable fullness this year. 

This is where the healthy holiday eating tips come in! You haven’t skipped any meals so you have a clear head and good energy to enjoy the company. You made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and you got out for a morning walk with your kids. Now for this special Thanksgiving meal with loved ones, you can stop eating when you are about 80% full and practice mindfulness. Well done!

Wishing everyone a beautiful holiday season with friends and family!

If you’re looking for more support on your wellness journey, check out our Living Fully Mediterranean Course, which includes meal plans, goal-setting worksheets, and over 200 healthy recipes. 

This article has been updated since its original publish date in December 2020.