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Stuff The Turkey - Not Yourself

Originally Posted: November 21, 2011

Southampton - Thanksgiving is one of the days when we're most likely to overeat - even if we don't mean to. Sarah Stone shares five tips that will help you stay healthy, while still feeling satisfied.

Clearly, Thanksgiving is a day that's all about eating. If you're like many Americans, you start the holiday promising yourself that you won't overdo it. Unfortunately, though, it's incredibly easy to overindulge. So while you might enjoy every bite that passes your lips on Turkey Day, chances are you end the day feeling like a blob and regretting that you allowed yourself to eat way too much.

The good news is there's a better, healthier way to approach the holiday, and it doesn't mean you'll have to choose between savoring your special holiday meal and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"With a working knowledge of the components of healthy eating and living, you can navigate Thanksgiving - and the holidays beyond - with a satisfied stomach and no regrets," promises Stone, director of operations at MindStream Academy, a co-ed health and wellness boarding school for teens who want to get fit, lose weight, build self-esteem, better manage stress, and take control over their health and wellness destinies.

If you're ready to have a healthier holiday, read on for five of Stone's tried-and-true tips:

 • Understand The Eye-Stomach Gap: At some point, we've probably all used the excuse "My eyes were bigger than my stomach!" to justify overeating. This eye-stomach gap comes from both our physical and mental conditions, and people often don't consider whether they're listening to their stomachs or their brains when it comes to hunger and food consumption. Especially in social settings or during celebrations (like Thanksgiving!), it's easy to base your decision to eat on sight, which can often cause overeating.

 • Remember That A Family Who Cooks Together Stays Healthy Together: Believe it or not, when you get the whole family involved in meal preparation, you'll be investing in everyone's physical and emotional health. First of all, the simple act of being together while you cook (and later eat) gives you time to catch up on one another's lives, to talk about things that excite you, and to work out things that are troubling you. Coming together over food helps your family create a positive environment in which you can make good memories and strengthen the emotional bond that you all share.

 • Understand The Power Of The Portion: We live in a supersized society. And this bigger-is-always-better mindset causes most of us to feel like the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by the time all of the dishes have been cleared away. Unless we eat until we think we might burst, we feel that we haven't eaten "enough." However, the truth is that you can do your holiday meal justice without straining your waistband. The key is revising your definition of "enough" by understanding portion control.

 • Step Away From The Table: Spending time together at the table is wonderful while your family is actually enjoying the Thanksgiving meal - just don't allow yourselves to be glued to the chairs afterward! When the meal is over, get up and clear away the plates and leftovers. (By the way, this will be easier if your stomach isn't aching because you stuffed it too full of treats!) The fact is, when you leave the general vicinity of food, you won't be able to eat more than you should.

 • Be Aware Of Your Emotional Triggers: Unless you live in a 1950s sitcom, chances are there are at least a few dysfunctional relationships in your extended family. Whether your mother-in-law makes you feel two inches tall or your brother always knows how to push your buttons, you may feel compelled to take refuge in a plate of food. However, Stone says, there are several ways to stay healthy while keeping stress at bay.

"Ultimately, having a healthy Thanksgiving shouldn't be complicated," Stone concludes. "Keep things simple by focusing on fellowship. Even though this is a special holiday, your daily routine shouldn't change too much. A good night's sleep, regular exercise, and healthy eating are big stress reducers all year round, and you should absolutely keep those habits up during the holidays. And most importantly, remember that the healthiest thing you can do, at Thanksgiving and always, is to cultivate a positive attitude and self-image."

Below is one of Franklin's favorite recipes:

Chef Franklin's Calorie-Light Cranberry Sauce

 • 1 cup sugar
 • 1 cup water
 • 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
 • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
 • 2 tablespoons raisins or currants

Bring sugar and water to a boil in stainless steel pan. After water has come to a boil, add cranberries and wait for boiling to continue. Reduce to simmer and boil cranberries for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add lemon zest and raisins or currants. Cool in fridge for one hour and serve.

About Sarah Stone
Stone is co-creator and director of operations for MindStream Academy. Along with Founder Ray Travaglione, she has worked on the MindStream Academy project from its inception. She is an honors graduate of the University of Toledo whose dream was always to work with youth. After her previous work as director of admissions at a teenage recovery management facility, Sarah found a path that led her to her work at MindStream. Her dream has been realized as she takes great pride in helping teens work to heal and nurture what is broken and learn to be tolerant and understanding of themselves.

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