Thanksgiving Staples Done Right

Thanksgiving food has a bad rap. Not only is the holiday a celebration of gratitude, giving, and grub, but Thanksgiving dinner can actually be pretty freaking healthy with a little bit of thought, control, and balance. So, ignore the hype, don’t fast for the feast, and go into the meal knowing that it’s not your last, so enjoy! Here’s the deal on those Thanksgiving staples:

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Turkey: the main event. Turkey is actually a healthy, low-fat lean protein with tons of vitamins, so let it take center stage on your plate. It’s when the turkey is covered in stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and devoured alongside alcohol, dinner rolls, and dessert. So, instead of using the turkey as a means to hold these other foods, actually enjoy the turkey itself!

Potatoes: potatoes are a healthy, starchy veg BUT they’re usually ‘buttered up’ (literally) with tons of butter, cream, and cheese, adding tons of fat. If you’re like us, you’d take sweet potatoes any day over regular white potatoes – they’re sooo much sweeter! Luckily, sweet potatoes are also sooo good for you, full of Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and beta-carotene. Just keep it simple with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) or butter and some cinnamon, rosemary, or your favorite spices. If you agree to disagree and prefer the white mashers over orange, simply enjoy a small serving, not a potato volcano on your plate…unless you’re gearing up for a post-Thanksgiving marathon. In that case, you’ll actually need those carbs!

Brussels Sprouts: this cruciferous veggie is a fall staple in the OHH kitchen. Full of fiber, they’ll help you to digest your holiday meal while lowering cholesterol and risk of certain cancers when eaten regularly. Plus, they’re so damn good! No reason not to pass the sprouts, please!

Cranberry Sauce: sadly, we’re in America and that means that your traditional cranberry sauce is more like a gelatin of sugar (with very little to no cranberries) that plops out of a can. Not so appealing. Why not try to make your own, because real cranberries are actually a great source of antioxidants. Here’s a super simple recipe without the added sugar or chemicals!

Casseroles: yeah, not so healthy. The dish on casseroles: not to rag on this classic holiday dish, but a casserole is basically an excuse to make a normally healthy food (like green beans) into a cheesy, buttery, saucy, glutinous dish, with a bit of veggies hiding inside. Keep things simple and skip the ‘role, just stick to the good old veggies above!

Dessert: Have your cake and eat it too. Pumpkin and pecan pie, yum yum. Ok, so not the healthiest things in the world, but again, pumpkin and pecans themselves are both full of nutrients, so if you’re in charge of the pie, aim to bulk up these ingredients and dial down the sugar. Either way, there’s no need to turn down Thanksgiving dessert, just have a few bites of your very favorite, enjoy the deliciousness, and be done with it. It’s when dessert becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet that’ll have you feeling YUCK with a side of guilt.

One Healthy Breakdown: Thanksgiving is one meal, one day, and the focus should be on gratitude over grub…but enjoy the grub too! Happy, healthy holiday!

How Gratitude Makes You Healthy

An attitude of gratitude. Thankful. Blessed. We all know that we should appreciate the things, people, and opportunities we have; however, did you know that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has proven health benefits? (Possibly even more than that green juice you paid for.) Before we chat science, why not start with a little exercise to get that gratitude flowing? Ready, set, gratitude.

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  • The simple act of expressing thanks automatically lessens stress, which can lead to illnesses like cancer and heart disease, overtime. So, next time you’re in a rut, shift your focus to the good things you have going for you to boost your mood and your immune system.
  • Grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves, which is hugely related to both physical and mental well-being. Dedicating time for self-care makes us happier, less stressed, more focused, and more capable to take care of others. Think of the oxygen masks on airplanes; we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
  • Showing thanks may spark new relationships. Whether your colleague does you a favor or a stranger holds the door for you, expressing appreciation may initiate conversation, which may lead to friendship, which may lead to more happiness and even more gratitude.
  • An attitude of gratitude increases self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-esteem because your focus is on the good things that you like about yourself. Heck yes.
  • Grateful people are less likely to blame others, react with aggression, and experience anger, as they acknowledge their blessings and feel more empathy for others. Bye bye, road rage.
  • Trouble sleeping? Gratitude reduces anxiety, which can keep us awake or interrupt sleep. Simply put, get grateful and get good shut-eye.
  • Gratitude boosts resilience. We’re far more likely to overcome an obstacle or stay strong through a tough time if we keep an attitude of gratitude.
  • Grateful people are proven to exercise more, which also relieves stress and initiates all of the other benefits listed above. Lace up your sneakers for this double whammy.
  • You do not have to be “successful” to feel gratitude. In fact, those with less money or “stuff” have actually been proven to feel more gratitude. It’s not about what we have or do not have, it’s about perspective.

So, how do we practice daily gratitude? Simply set aside time daily or throughout the day to count your blessings. Write them down or simply make a mental list if you’re on-the-go. Be more observant of when others do something nice for you or someone else and express your appreciation. Even if you’re really down in the dumps, force yourself to smile or think of one thing you’re thankful for. It takes little energy and actually produces happy hormones, which lead to all of the above. Giving thanks all year-round will make you a healthier, happier, more productive, well-rested, confident, unstoppable human being.

One Healthy Breakdown: adopt an attitude of gratitude and reap the benefits…then express your gratitude for ’em and let the cycle continue!

Thankful Everyday Calendar

Happy November! Instead of asking you to get sweaty or sore, this month, we’re getting THANKFUL. Every. Single. Day. The calendar offers daily suggestions to spark your gratitude. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you to keep up with your workouts, but just as important (maybe more!) as a healthy body is a healthy mind. Let’s get thankful and stay that way.

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One Healthy Breakdown: make Thanksgiving last the whole month, not just one day. Be thankful.

Happy Day to All The Grandparents!

picmonkey_imageHappy National Grandparents Day to ALL of you fabulous grandparents out there. My “Nana” and “Ba” happen to be two of the most important people in my life and they are loved and appreciated for that every single day. I’d just like to take this time and space to thank them. Grandparents are really special people, they always seem to know exactly how to put a smile on their grandchild’s face.

For those who know me, you know that my family is close and incredibly important to me, my “rock.” I consider myself so so lucky to have always been very close to my grandparents. Nana and Ba (aka “Rocky”) hold a special place in my heart and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. I have an extraordinary respect for what they’ve accomplished in life, the decisions they’ve made, and their never-ending love and generosity. In addition to their ten grandchildren, my cousins, they’ve also taken my fiancé Nick for one of their own. They have been eagerly awaiting our engagement for a long time now and we were lucky enough to get to celebrate with them this past week.

One Healthy Breakdown: Happy Grandparents Day to my Nana and Ba, my Grammy and Grampy in Heaven, and all of the great grandparents out there!