For many people, holidays are an excuse to overindulge until their stomachs hurt. It’s just one day, right?

Unfortunately, it’s never just one day. There are leftovers that you eat for days.

People often celebrate the holiday multiple times with coworkers, with their significant other’s family or different sides of their own family. Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are dozens of work parties, family gatherings and parties with friends!

This is why I always suggest being mindful during the holidays. You don’t have to pass up all of your favorite holiday foods. Just don’t go crazy!

Personally, I don’t want to start the new year with a new 10 pounds that I gained during two months of overindulging on pumpkin pie, stuffing and casseroles. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start a new year feeling fabulous?

Trust me, you can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods without going overboard!

Here are my healthy Thanksgiving Day tips:

1. Get a good night’s sleep. The night before Thanksgiving, get lots of shut eye. When I’m tired, I tend to crave carbs and want to keep eating and eating and eating. Being well rested will help you stay in control during your meal.

2. Don’t starve all day. People do this! Start your day with a healthy breakfast – a combination of protein and complex carbs – a vegetable omelet with whole grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal with a diced apple topped with walnuts. If you’re starving when you dive into Thanksgiving dinner, you may not come up for air.

YMCA Turkey Trot 2013

3. Workout. A good workout will set the tone for the rest of the day. I always make healthier choices when I’ve made time for exercise in the morning. My boyfriend and I often run the local YMCA’s Turkey Trot in the morning. Last year, it was freezing but it was still fun! If that’s not your idea of a good time, just go for a walk, do a workout DVD or even hit the gym – many gyms offer Thanksgiving morning fitness classes!

4. Bring your own. If you’ll be a guest in someone’s home, offer to bring a side dish or dessert. Bring a green salad, a slimmed down dessert or just a platter of fresh vegetables. That way you will know there will be something healthy to eat.

5. Give thanks. This may be a no-brainer on Thanksgiving, but really take a moment of gratitude for the food in front of you. This is a practice you can do before every meal, not just on Thanksgiving. It forces you to slow down and appreciate where your food came from, who prepared it and the fact that you have the opportunity to enjoy it.

6. Taste everything. You love the stuffing and the green bean casserole and the potatoes and the marshmallow covered yams? Take a small portion of each. No need to totally stuff yourself. Having just a few bites will satisfy your Thanksgiving cravings.

7. Be picky. I don’t like to waste calories on food that isn’t absolutely amazing. Green bean casserole is not my favorite, so I always skip it. Choose the dishes that you absolutely love and enjoy every bite.

8. Politely say no. If you’re spending the holiday with your family, there’s a good chance that the host will try to force seconds and thirds down your throat. When you feel comfortably full, politely decline offers to refill your plate. We often eat out of obligation during the holidays. But saying no isn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings. And if it does, it is their issue not yours!

9. Focus on family and friends. While food is a major part of Thanksgiving, the holiday is also a chance to spend quality time with the people you care about. Actively listen to conversations, reminisce, laugh and appreciate those around you.

Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

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Sara Giboney

Sara Giboney is a health coach and certified group fitness instructor living in Kearney, Nebraska. She offers one-on-one health coaching services in-person and virtually, and wellness workshops in Nebraska communities and businesses. A self-proclaimed dessert addict, Sara shares some of the recipes that satisfy her sweet tooth without sabotaging her health goals on her blog, Sweet Success. The blog features easy and nutritious recipes, healthy eating and fitness tips, at-home workouts and strategies for implementing self-care into your daily life. Connect with Sara! Twitter - Instagram - @saragiboney Facebook - Sweet Success Blog Pinterest - Sara Giboney Google+ - Sweet Success