The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy & Stress Free Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingIt’s that time of year when we celebrate one of our most treasured holidays, Thanksgiving. Last year, we shared some tips on simple ways to improve your Thanksgiving meals. This time around, we’ll be sharing a mix of meal ideas that could help you have a stress free and healthy Thanksgiving holiday overall.

We know that holidays like these only come a hand full of times a year in Canada and as such, they can be very stressful to plan. As with many things in life, stress can ruin good times but a little planning can go a very long way. Here are our top tips for keeping things generally stress free.

Keep Things Simple

One of life’s greatest virtues is simplicity. This virtue of simplicity can also be applied to Thanksgiving planning and preparation. If you’re already beginning to stress out, take a moment to stop overloading your thoughts with crazy recipe ideas and narrow it down to one or two of your most favourite meals. From here, it’ much easier to make a decision of what to make. Don’t get us wrong, it’s important to consider the tastes of your family or guests (if these apply) but don’t let these factors give you too much of a tough time. In addition, you can still get creative with simplicity, just take a look at this stuffed Sweet Potato cup recipe for a good example.

Plan Ahead

This is probably the most useful tip that relates to reducing the amount of stress involved in the planning of Thanksgiving meals. To be honest, you can never be too early when it comes to holiday meal preparation. Start putting things in place and buying your ingredients now. It’s much easier to get the nonperishable stuff ahead of time while you can save the perishable goods for closer to the date. There are also certain items that can be cooked well ahead of time too.

Spread the Love

This one’s really very simple. Don’t take on all the work, it’s Thanksgiving after all so spread the love, delegate tasks, and be sure to ask family and friends to help with the menu and pitch in on the cooking side of things (stuffing, Cranberry sauce, and gravy). Remember to spread the work in such a way that the people supporting you feel like they contributed to a fantastic Thanksgiving experience. Remember, sharing is caring!

We’ve shared our recommendations for keeping things stress free. Keep reading to learn more about our suggestions for how you can keep things fresh and healthy for Thanksgiving.

Shop Local

In our post last year, we shared one recommendation that is still relevant today, shop local. This really boils down to getting the bulk of your ingredients at your local farmers’ market. There’s no need to fill your menu with unwanted or chemically filled foods just because you want to keep things simple. This year for Thanksgiving, give local foods and ingredients a try because they’ll make your meals healthier and tastier. Local food presents an opportunity to enjoy diverse and farm fresh ingredients at a low cost. Another added bonus of buying local is that you and your family will get a better sense of where the food comes from and provide support to the local economy.

You can pre-order your Thanksgiving Turkey from Hilltop! Simply choose your pick up date and size and we’ll have it ready for you to pick up at our farm store.

Eat Smarter Portions

In the rush of Thanksgiving celebrations, it can be hard to keep track of every thing you’re consuming and the portion sizes. This part of meal preparation and serving can be a little tricky, but eating smartly sized portions is a good way to stay healthy and reduces your risk of bloating and feeling lethargic during Thanksgiving. Another added bonus from home cooked meals and smart portions is that you get to control most of the ingredients and portion sizes. If you plan it right, the main dishes and the desserts will leave you and your guests adequately satisfied. There’ll be no need to feel post meal guilt after the celebratory eating is done.

Get Moving

Start the day off right with some light exercise to set the tone for the rest of the day. Once the feasting begins and the main dish has been served, one way to keep things fun and healthy is to get moving with some planned activities before serving desserts. Planning a Thanksgiving day event is also a great way to get friends and family bonding together. For example, you can put together some arts and crafts activities that allow for creativity and take short walks surrounded by nature (this is especially a good one if you live on a farm). These activities will not only keep you healthy, but also provide an avenue for friends and family to enjoy nature and develop an attitude of gratitude which is the main point of Thanksgiving in the first place!

How about after the celebrations? There are a couple of things you can do as well but you don’t have to go crazy with exercising to burn off the Thanksgiving meal. Keep things simple, if you’re already following a particular routine, don’t start doing something drastically different all of a sudden. Besides, if you follow the rest of the recommendations we’ve outlined, you won’t have to “undo” the damage of the meal from the previous day.

In Closing

Whatever your reason is for wanting to try something different for this year’s Thanksgiving, you’re not alone! After making the decision to do things differently, a lot of people find that they don’t really have an action plan or guide that will help them. This guide provides the basics of a healthy and stress free holiday celebration and combining some (or all) will set you on your way to a healthy and stress free Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family. So start planning, stay healthy and enjoy  the celebrations!

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