This Week's Healthy SC Challenge Tips – A Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner

November 21, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – November 21, 2008 – The Healthy SC Challenge is the Sanford family’s effort to get all South Carolinians to do just a little more to live a healthier lifestyle. The tips are designed to encourage individuals and communities to live healthier lifestyles in three categories – nutrition, exercise and help to quit smoking. The tips can also be found on the challenge’s website,

Healthy Tips

Survival Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner
* Skipping breakfast and lunch is a sure recipe for overeating at the Thanksgiving table. Our bodies aren’t meant to handle 2,000-3,000 calories all at once and will store excess calories as fat.  Better to eat smaller amounts and drink lots of water throughout the day and really enjoy a healthful dinner.
* Control your portion sizes: Draw a 12-inch dinner plate in your mind and divide it into three-inch-sized circles with each one representing one food group: proteins, vegetables and starches. The key is to stay within your circle for each food group: If you like turkey and ham, fit a little of both in one circle.
* If you’re worried about the food choices, bring your own low-calorie dish or veggie tray to family gatherings.
* Be active: Go for a bike ride, a long brisk walk, a run or spend at least one hour at your local gym to burn calories before the big Thanksgiving meal.
* Plan a family event that involves physical activity-a pick-up game of basketball, a snowball fight, a long brisk walk outdoors or a family bike ride-before, during or after the big meal.
* Be mindful of your alcohol intake: Mixed drinks tend to have high amount of concentrated sugar and quickly add empty calories. One glass of wine may be reasonable, but remember alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein.
Physical Activity
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. ‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.  Make fitness a family adventure. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together.

Quitting smoking is just hard.  And while more than 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit, many try to quit cold turkey which is the least successful way to go.  Cold turkey is great for Thanksgiving leftovers, but quitting cold turkey just doesn’t work for the majority of smokers.  Our family, friends, coworkers and neighbors who smoke need to have access to life-saving cessation treatments, like nicotine-replacement-therapy, prescriptions medications, and counseling.  It’s only by getting help to quit that smokers are most likely to be successful. 
-American Lung Association,

The Healthy SC Challenge is an outcome-based, cooperative effort aimed at encouraging individuals, communities and organizations across the state to show shared responsibility in developing innovative ways to improve the health of South Carolina’s citizens. For more information about the Healthy SC Challenge, please visit, or call 803-737-4772.