Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

Top Tips for a Healthy, Happy Thanksgiving

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By Lisa Sharma Creighton, Senior Program Coordinator, Nutrition, Hunger and Physical Activity, NEA Health Information Network

With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, now is the perfect time to start planning for a healthy and happy holiday. To help you get organized, we rounded up our favorite healthy Thanksgiving tips, like involving kids in cooking nutritious dishes, getting the whole family moving before and after the meal, and more:

Involve kids in cooking the Thanksgiving meal
Parents can bring kids grocery shopping (extra credit: consider using a pedometer to measure steps), and then have them help with easy meal prep, like washing vegetables or measuring dry ingredients. Cooking together can be a great time to reinforce healthy eating habits and show children first-hand how nutritious dishes can be very delicious. Here are a couple of our favorite nutritious holiday recipes:

Don’t forget to eat breakfast
Canyons School District in Utah reminds its families about the importance of the morning meal – especially on Thanksgiving. If you scrimp on calories early in the day to save room for Thanksgiving dinner, you may end up over eating. Start the day with a hearty, healthy breakfast, like fresh fruit and hardboiled eggs. (See our previous blog for more quick, easy breakfast ideas.)

Start an active Thanksgiving family tradition
Your family is bound to consume more calories than normal on Thanksgiving; help balance it out with some extra exercise. Go for a morning family bike ride or arrange a soccer game in the backyard after dinner. If you live in a cooler climate, go bowling or ice-skating to get an extra boost of activity in a fun environment. Kate Uslan of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation also suggests looking for a “Turkey Trot” family running event in your area on Thanksgiving. (Read more of Kate’s tips for a healthy holiday here.)

Get creative with fruits and vegetables for school party snacks
The Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Pinterest page has fun ideas for how to create turkey-shaped fruit and veggie platters for school classroom parties, like this bird made of carrots, tomatoes, olives, radishes and pickles:

How do you stay healthy and active during Thanksgiving? Share your healthy habits with us on TwitterFacebook or by leaving a comment below.