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  • Kellie Blake RDN, LD

Strategies for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Holidays can be challenging if you're trying to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself. At this time last year, I was following a full on elimination diet. I was so miserable with symptoms that I didn't even care if I missed out on all the holiday treats. After it was all said and done, I realized I didn't miss out on anything, I enjoyed delicious food (elimination diet compliant) and spent time with my family. Most of my previous Thanksgiving holidays were spent eating, and eating, and eating! Most people spend quite some time sitting on the couch too. But, one unhealthy day can lead to 2, and then the whole weekend and then you're totally off track until January when you will start anew. If this is your holiday routine, think about mixing it up this year!

Holiday meals can derail any healthy eating plan and when you consider left overs, it can go on for days. People tend to gain 5-10 pounds around this season and most don’t lose that weight by the time next year rolls around, so it just keeps adding up over time. But, you can absolutely have a healthy, happy Thanksgiving if you put a little thought into it! To stay on track this Thanksgiving season, try the following:

  1. Move your body! Even a 10 minute walk immediately after each meal has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar by 2-3mg/dL per minute! Insulin resistance is what leads us to diabetes and other chronic diseases [see my previous blog on diabetes for details]. So, get that body moving. I’m running the 5k Drumstick Dash in Charleston, WV – all proceeds go to the Union Mission and it’s a great atmosphere! You don’t have to run either – you can walk and make room for some of the food you’ll be eating. There are several Thursday morning races around our local area, find one and participate with your family!

  2. Make some healthy side dishes for yourself. If your family wants to join in, that’s great. But you can’t expect everyone to be on board with healthy meals. So be prepared by having some healthier options for yourself. See the awesome recipe below. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, kale) are one way we can detoxify our bodies – they’re great to add in for most everyone!

  3. Give your unhealthy leftovers away! To keep the temptation at bay, try to avoid having desserts and unhealthy items around the house to entice you over the after Thanksgiving holiday weekend! It will be easier to resist the temptation to overdo it if there’s nothing like that hanging around your house!

  4. Have fun! Instead of just focusing on food, focus on spending time with family and friends. Social connection is one of the most important aspects to maintaining a life free of disease! Play board games, cards, reminisce, play football in the yard or take a walk with the entire family!

Brussels Sprouts/Kale Salad

Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons mustard

  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion

  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 2 large bunches of kale, chopped

  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife (I like my slightly blanched)

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.

If you want more information on how an elimination diet can help you discover the root cause of your digestive symptoms, fatigue, headaches, joint pain and swelling, contact us. We provide free 15 minute phone consultations.

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