In the midst of Nutcracker rehearsals and studying for exams, one important holiday rolls around: Thanksgiving! Before you sit down to eat, check out the stellar health benefits of some favorite Turkey Day staples. You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging when you feast this way. Dig in!
Turkey is a great source of lean protein and niacin, a B vitamin that ensures radiant skin and a healthy digestive system.
Tip: Choose skinless white meat. The dark meat has a lot more saturated fat and the skin is loaded with fats and calories.
These delicious tubers are an exceptional source of vitamin B6, beta-carotene, fiber and protein. Plus, they’re one of the best low-fat sources of the heart-healthy antioxidant vitamin E.
Tip: Swap your sugar-and-butter–loaded sweet potato for a baked one with a dash of brown sugar.
Not only jam-packed with antioxidants, cranberries have also been shown to block urinary tract infections, stop plaque buildup on your teeth and prevent stomach ulcers.
Tip: Make your own sauce from fresh cranberries for a tasty alternative that’s less sugary than the canned variety.
Green beans, or string beans, are a great source of vitamin K, which plays a vital role in bone health and osteoporosis prevention. Plus, they’re full of fiber.
Tip: Skip the butter—simply sprinkle a bit of sea salt and pepper over your beans.
Before it becomes dessert, pumpkin is a low-fat, low-calorie squash that’s filled with potassium, beta-carotene and vitamins A and C.
Tip: Replace the traditional pumpkin pie recipe with a healthier, lower-sugar one.
Worried about a snug tutu?
Indulge in smart servings of the things you really crave (pecan pie!), and skip the just-kind-of-meh foods.
Ditch The Guilt
On the morning of your Thanksgiving feast, give yourself a mini barre and go for a jog. You could even sign up to participate in your community’s turkey trot race. You’ll feel refreshed and energized as you help in the kitchen, and you won’t feel guilty about having a second slice of pie!
Just Say Thanks
Being grateful every day can make you a more alert, enthusiastic person, according to psychologists at the University of California (Davis) and the University of Miami. In studies, researchers found that kids who took part in daily gratitude exercises had greater levels of determination, attentiveness and energy. Plus, they were more likely to help others than the children who focused on daily hassles instead of gratitude. So the next time you see your parents, your ballet teacher or your bestie, show them some gratitude.
To kick off your Thanksgiving celebrations, make a gratitude list. Find a quiet space, jot down everyone and everything you’re thankful for and tape it to your mirror. It’ll help you keep your attitude of gratitude even after the festivities are over.