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Easy Ways to Count Your Blessings—Not Your Calories—on Thanksgiving

As a true foodie, Thanksgiving is, of course, my absolute favorite holiday. It combines the three things I love most: food, family and music.

This is what a typical Bauer Thanksgiving looks like: Our delicious family gatherings start with boisterous conversation and catch-up (there's about 35 of us in all!). It continues with an assortment of amazingly prepared and devoured food. And it ends with a musical jam that lasts well into the wee hours of the evening. (We all play instruments and sing; some better than others—I won’t name any names!)

Sure, you can let yourself get stuffed just like every other Thanksgiving—or this year, you can enjoy yourself without overdoing it. How? Use my Thanksgiving tips below. Trust me, you’ll be thankful you did when Friday morning rolls around!

A Quick Tip from Joy

1. Get Moving in the Morning
Take the family on a nice, long walk before the festivities begin. Not only will it burn some calories, but it also sets the tone for a healthy and fun day.

2. Substitute Healthier Ingredients
My favorite tips: Swap applesauce for butter in baked goods. Try nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream and mayo in dips and recipes. Use an oil mister to sauté vegetables for side dishes and stuffing instead of pouring oil straight from the bottle. When making mashed potatoes, mash spuds with steamed cauliflower to drive down the calories and carbs.

3. Try Everything in Moderation
It’s OK to indulge in your favorite holiday foods, but try serving yourself only 1 to 2 tablespoons to satisfy your craving, rather than devouring a gigantic serving.

4. Eat Slowly
Remember that it can take up to 20 minutes for your body to register that it’s full. Put your fork down, chew, sip water and take time to enjoy the company.

5. Spread the Love—and the Leftovers
Share leftovers with family, friends and neighbors or donate extra food to a local shelter or food pantry.

Get Joy’s Healthy Holiday Recipes

What are your healthy holiday tips?

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