Healthy Living


Thanksgiving Wellness

Thanksgiving traditions that can boost health and wellness.

Six rituals for the mind and body are rewarding enough to repeat throughout the year.

Mind: Give thanks

                  Gratitude is good for you. Research shows it can lower blood pressure, decrease depression and improve quality of life. But gratitude is not a feeling, it is a behavior that we can practice every day of the year. You can strengthen an awareness of gratitude by sharing what you are grateful for or letting people know that you appreciate them. Expressing this helps build bridges, connects us to the sacrifices of others and allows us to see abundance rather than what we lack.

Serve up strong relationships

Social isolation has recently been cited as possibly being more harmful to health than smoking or obesity. Despite the headaches of travel and stress that family dynamics can bring, Thanksgiving helps build community by encouraging shared experiences with family and friends, or even welcoming strangers.

Until age 80, most people say they want to be healthy. After 80, people say what matters most is relationships. The Thanksgiving holiday is a powerful reminder of how coming together to share a meal can provide a sense of fellowship and belonging that many people, particularly older adults, are missing in their lives.

Extend a helping hand

Many homeless shelters or retirement communities or inundated with individuals who signed up to serve meals on Thanksgiving. And like gratitude, research shows that helping others can bring health benefits to the giver. We feel most alive when using our gifts and helping others. The challenge is to make time in our lives to do this all year long.


Body: Make lunch your largest meal

Research increasingly shows it is not just what we eat, but when we eat that matters. Many families eat their Thanksgiving meal in the afternoon, not in the evening and that is a step in the right direction for all days.

Our bodies are more efficient at burning calories during the day when we are active versus storing excess calories as fat at night while we sleep. Front-loading calories can give you time to digest all those calories well before bedtime, which can have benefit for weight loss and overall health, including controlling weight and managing and preventing diabetes and obesity.

Move after meals

From family tag football games to a nice fall walk, this holiday can add annual opportunities to exercise. Moderate daily activity is a proven intervention that can reduce the risk of of a variety of diseases, including heart disease , cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Incorporate movement into your day. This is good for both your body and your brain.

Leave some leftovers

Some people actually prefer Friday turkey sandwich to Thursday’s main meal.

Whatever your choice it’s important to spread the bounty. Practicing portion control at every meal helps to ensure we don’t eat too much in one sitting.

When it comes to protein, 3 to 4 ounces is enough for most people. Saving food for the next few days allows you to enjoy the meal multiple times and spares you from taking in too many calories at once.


Hope that you are surrounded with the love of your family and dear ones on this festive season. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!