Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday Strategies

Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday Strategies

Holidays leave many of us pressed for time. With a little forethought and planning, you can be better equipped to face hectic days. 

Prepare a few quick, nourishing meals to have ready to heat and serve.  Having a pot of soup, a one-dish casserole, or fixings for a quick stir fry ready will make all the difference. 

Try to eat something every three to five hours in order to have even energy over the day so that you can complete the things you want and need to do. On the day of a celebration meal, eat meals and snacks as you would normally throughout the day. As a result, you’ll approach that “big” meal hungry, but not ravenous.

Drink more water. Flush, flush, flush! Water is the medium your body uses to perform every chemical reaction. It can speed up metabolism if consumed adequately, and equally slow metabolism if not consumed enough. 

Lighten up holiday food with a few tweaks here and there:

Mashed potatoes: cook the potatoes in low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. Then use skim milk, garlic powder, and a little parmesan cheese instead of butter and whole milk.

Stuffing/bread dressing: use whole wheat bread instead of white bread or add cooked brown rice to your regular recipe. This will add fiber and dilute fat and sodium.

Gravy: use a fat-skimmer cup OR refrigerate/freeze the meat juice in a shallow pan so that the fat rises to the top and can be removed. This saves approximately 56 grams of fat per cup!

At holiday gatherings you can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods. Fill up one third of your plate with veggies and fruits, another third with lean protein, and then relax and enjoy some of your favorites on the last third. 


Squeezing in exercise is always a challenge, especially if you have visitors or you are traveling. Look ahead to see if (weather permitting) there is a park or walking paths nearby. If you’re at your own home, try to build in a time for a group walk. Even 20 minutes of activity will help reduce your stress level and give your metabolism a boost! 

Some of our acac locations will have special Thanksgiving Day hours, so you can visit the gym as well! Click your location below to see its hours. 

Charlottesville | Midlothian | Short Pump | West Chester/Eagleview | Baltimore


After the feast, don’t be alarmed by the scale. As a matter of fact, it’s not your fault- it is physiology. If you’re weighing yourself each day, which you shouldn’t be, you can expect to see a pound or few pop on the scale in the two to three days after Thanksgiving. About 90% of the weight gain you see right after Thanksgiving is from water retention, not an increase in body fat. Don’t let that number send you into negative self talk. If you increase your exercise intensity a bit on your next workout as well as stay properly hydrated, you can bounce back faster. 

We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!