Tips For A Healthy And Active Autumn

With the holiday season coming up just around the corner, I’m excited to bring you a sponsored conversation with the help of Shape Your Future OK. This time of year, it can be really hard to reach your healthy eating goals, especially at the holiday arriving, bringing Thanksgiving pies, Christmas hams, and New Year’s Eve canapes. There are delicious treats everywhere you look from October to January, which means we want to help you stay healthy and strong during this tricky (but fun!) time of year.

Shape Your Future OK is all about living a healthier life through eating better, moving more, quitting smoking, and beyond. These are all things we want to be thinking about during the holidays — healthy habits shape our futures and our mindset. Today I wanted to share some ideas that can help you to reach your goals throughout the holiday season, and during the rest of the year.

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First, let’s dive into some ideas for choosing healthy habits for Thanksgiving! You don’t have to go bonkers trying to count every single calorie or gram of fat — that wouldn’t be enjoyable at all. These tips are just ways to get you thinking about your own healthy habits during this delicious season!

For instance, you don’t have to skip out on the high calorie foods, like casseroles and desserts — just eat less of them while filling up on lean meats and veggies! You can also skip the turkey skin and aim to mix your dark meat with more white meat for a lighter plate. When it comes to veggies, there are so many delicious options, such as squash and green beans. These flavorful options are the perfect side for your meat and stuffing. As for your cranberry sauce – try to avoid the canned goods. Making your own by mashing fresh cranberries, juice from an orange, and some apple juice will taste better AND it’s better for you!

You also don’t have to say goodbye to flavor just because you’re saying goodbye to fat. You can skim the fat from your gravy juices or replace cream with chicken stock in your whipped potatoes. Lots of flavor and MUCH less fat!

Finally, if you’re a stuffing addict like I am, you won’t want to say goodbye to it this Thanksgiving, but you CAN opt to use more veggies and less bread in your recipe. You could also add fresh fruits to the mix, or use a whole grain bread for more nutrients.

We know that Thanksgiving is all about the food… but it doesn’t have to end there! Here are a few ways that you can add some more movement and fun to your celebration:

  • Invite your family to enjoy a beautiful walk outside to admire the gorgeous colors surrounding your neighborhood!
  • Take a page from FRIENDS and plan a midday football match at the park or in your backyard!
  • Ask the neighbors to join you in cleaning up your block — grab some bags and get all of the trash picked up from a local park or path.
  • Bring your family along to help out at a soup kitchen or shelter.
  • Visit a hospital or nursing home to help brighten the holiday for those who may not have someone to share it with.

There are lots of wonderful ways to enjoy Thanksgiving with your family — before and after the pumpkin pie, of course! 😉

After Thanksgiving, we’ll find ourselves facing the holiday season and all of its deliciousness! You don’t have to pressure yourself to “behave” during the holiday season by withholding all of the goodies you’d love to try, but with a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy the season healthfully with these tips!

First, you need to be realistic. Trying to lose weight during the holiday is akin to setting yourself up for failure. It’s possible, but very difficult — instead, just try to maintain your current weight. You should also try to plan time to be active as a method of relieving holiday stress if nothing else! Just two quick 10-15 minute walks around your neighborhood will do the trick!

Have you ever skipped a meal because you knew you’d be eating a big meal later that night? Bad idea. You actually end up overindulging later because your stomach is SUPER hungry. Better to eat light than to skip meals altogether.

You also want to be careful with your alcohol consumption, especially if you’ve been eating light. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions which leads to overeating when you didn’t mean too, while non-alcoholic beverages may also be high in sugar and calories. Find your balance between holiday drinks and plenty of water!

Sometimes I find that we’ve been invited to several buffet-type meals over the holiday, which leaves me anxious about what food will be available. Always make sure to bring your own healthy option if you’re headed to a buffet!

Just like Thanksgiving, the holidays don’t have to be all about food. Taking the focus off of food and putting it on things like making wreaths with your family, decorating ornaments, building snowmen, and sledding means that you’re not always tempted into eating more than you ought to.

Need some ideas on how to make some of your holiday favorites a little healthier? Try these tips:

  • Use skim milk in your mashed potatoes instead of butter or margarine
  • Pop your gravy in the fridge to harden the fat so it can be removed from the top (this’ll save you 56 grams of fat per cup!)
  • Try a crustless pie, or substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in your favorite recipes
  • Choose low-fat cheese for casseroles or salads
  • Use chunks of potatoes in your green bean casserole instead of cream soup (top with almond instead of onions!)

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There are lots of ways to stay healthy throughout the holiday season that have nothing to do with food — but to do with the air we breathe. If you have visitors at your home this season who are smokers, please enforce a tobacco-free home and car rule. Asking your guests not to smoke in your car, home, or around your children makes a big difference. Did you know that secondhand smoke contains over 70 cancer-causing chemicals? While the holidays are a stressful time to quit smoking, experts would suggest setting a resolution to go tobacco-free for the New Year!

If you live in OK and need help quitting, call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline for free help, as well as free patches, gum, or lozenges at 1-800-QUIT NOW. You can also get help at

From the Mom Spark family to yours, I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy, and happy holiday season!

Be sure to check out for more great tips, ideas, and recipes!

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Shape Future OK blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.