A Penn State Applied Research Center

Service members carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner

Disclaimer: If you have a medical condition that requires adherence to a specific dietary plan then by all means, for the sake of your health, follow it! The content of this blog entry is not intended to replace advice from your doctor.

If you are motivated to watch your diet this Thanksgiving as part of ongoing weight loss or weight maintenance efforts, my aim isn’t to deter you; at the end of this blog entry, you’ll find a short list of websites with tips and recipes that can help you have a healthy holiday. However, my contribution here won’t add to that list because I want to address those of you who are not particularly motivated to watch your diet this Thanksgiving.

To quote a friend and fellow health researcher, “aren’t there some sacred things that shouldn’t be broccoli-ized?” Sure. And feelings of guilt that arise from half-hearted attempts to eat healthfully won’t help you build a positive relationship with food.

So, this Thanksgiving, enjoy your meal! Delight in your friends and family. Celebrate all that you have to be thankful for in your life. Then, in the spirit of thankfulness, do what you can to honor the gift of health in your life by committing to making your life a healthier one. Enjoy more vegetables and less sugar. Take longer walks. Replace caloric beverages with water. Watch less TV. Go outside and play with your kids. Pack your lunch. Initiate family traditions surrounding physical activity to complement those surrounding food, such as Thanksgiving weekend flag football or a holiday family hike. Model healthy behaviors for your family. Joyfully work hard most days of the year so that you can enjoy the occasional days of indulgence that holidays bring.

I wish a safe and happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Healthy holiday eating tips: