Family feasting festivities have finally arrived, and the dining table is lined up with classic Thanksgiving comfort favorites: buttery mashed potatoes topped with heavenly gravy, oven roasted turkey, fluffy breaded stuffing, and scrumptious pumpkin pie. While this day is known to be a day for giving thanks and reflection, it is also notorious for being a day of over-indulgence. Though it is important to enjoy ourselves through food and family, it is also essential to be mindful of our bodies' hunger and satiation cues. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your Thanksgiving feast lighter and brighter.

1. Incorporate the Veggies

vegetable, sprouts, brussels sprout, meat
Florence Ma

Classic vegetables like squash, potatoes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and carrots are perfect fall veggies to incorporate into your dishes. By utilizing more vegetables in your Thanksgiving meals, not only will you reap the benefits from the fiber and nutrients, but also reduce the calories in your dish.

Thanksgiving is known for classic hearty dishes, but by altering a standard recipe by sneaking in some veggies, you can show-off your creativity while still enjoying the traditional feast. Feeling low-carb? Try cauliflower "mashed potatoes" to lighten up the carbohydrate load on your plate, while still getting your fluffy, buttery fix. 

2. Listen to Your Body

Table, pie, pumpkin pie and cream HD photo by Element5 Digital (@element5digital) on Unsplash

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When there is an abundance of delicious food on the table, it is easy to overeat. Although it is more intuitive, it is important to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. Try a little bit of everything on the table, and fill your plate with smaller portions before deciding if you want to go for that second round. If you are working on your entrée, remind yourself not to overeat because you want to save room for that dessert!

#SpoonTip: Drink some water between dishes to not only cleanse your palate, but also slow down the rate of eating. 

3. Cook Your Own Feast

Liz Kaplan

Don't be afraid to get in the kitchen and show off your creativity this Thanksgiving. Preparing your own dishes is a great way to encourage other family members and friends to join along and bond while making some homemade apple pie or cranberry sauce. By making your own meals from home, you will know exactly what ingredients are going into your food, and how much or how little you wish to add.

Of course, preparing a whole Thanksgiving feast by yourself can be stressful and cause anxiety, but you don't have to put the full burden on yourself. Instead, divide up the dishes between family members, or do a mix of store-bought and homemade dishes. 

4. Stay Active

Man, woman, friends and walk HD photo by Kaylee Eden (@kayleeeden) on Unsplash

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Although food plays a significant role in Thanksgiving, it is important to remember that this holiday is also about spending time with loved ones, expressing gratitude, and reflecting on the things that make us happy and fortunate. Between meals, go for a walk and catch up with a family member or friend, get outside and organize a family game with your cousins and uncles, or prepare for that shopping spree on Black Friday. 

Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude for our family and friends through delicious food. While Thanksgiving is a day that occurs only once every year, it is perfectly OK to feast and enjoy comfort foods with your loved ones. However, it is also important to listen to our bodies and be mindful of our food choices. 

From our Spoon to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!