5 New and Healthy Ways to Have a Happy Thanksgiving

5 New and Healthy Ways to Have a Happy Thanksgiving
November 18, 2022
RxLocal Team

We’re well into the holiday season. We’re past the spooky delights of Halloween but still too early to hang up stockings or put up a Christmas tree.

Thanksgiving is that sweet middle point of the holiday season. It has all the festive holiday fun without the Christmas chaos.

Thanksgiving is more than just a food-based holiday. By all means fill your table up with a big turkey, corn, ham, stuffing (if you’re into that), and pumpkin or pecan pie. However, this holiday is all about giving thanks and practicing gratitude — something we all can do more of. It is in the name after all.

The last Thursday of November gives us the chance to do more than devouring a week’s worth of food. Here are fun and healthy ways to celebrate a happy Thanksgiving.

1. Go On a Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving is a historic pitfall for almost everyone’s diet. Fruits and organic vegetables are virtually non-existent in favor of calorie-and-carb-infested turkey and mashed potatoes.

Eating is a time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving, but there’s a way to avoid the extra pounds you might’ve put on: turkey trots.

A turkey trot is exactly what it sounds like: a long-distance run that’s held on Thanksgiving morning.

turkey trots are held all over the US, where family and friends come together to start their food-filled day in the best way possible. The benefits of running are well-documented, though our running routines can grow a little stale after a while.

You keep running through the same trails, the inclines don’t challenge you anymore, and you’re telegraphing the run because you’ve done it over and over again.

Just like all things in life, it never hurts to spice things up. A turkey trot is a fantastic way to shake up your running routine. It also maintains one of the core principles of a happy Thanksgiving: bonding with family and friends.

Your mind and body will be in the right headspace to spend quality time with your friends and family. Who knows? It can become a happy Thanksgiving family tradition for years to come.

If you’re lucky, a plate of turkey and pumpkin pie will be waiting for you past that finish line.

2. Pay it Forward

Like going on a turkey trot, you can have a happy Thanksgiving in ways that go beyond the dinner table. It’s the perfect holiday to give gratitude to yourself, others, and especially those in need.

There is no shortage of places where you can volunteer on Thanksgiving day. Whether you go to nearby shelters or food banks, giving your time to those in need is what a happy Thanksgiving is all about.

If you’re visiting family, you can offer to help around the house so the Thanksgiving cooking doesn’t fall on just one person (unless that person prefers complete autonomy in the kitchen).

Fetch some ingredients, clean the dishes, set up the dinner table, and lend your Netflix password for the day — a little bit of help means a lot.

Visit VolunteerMatch to find the best volunteer opportunities near you.

3. Host a Potluck Dinner

Despite our best efforts, Thanksgiving dinner tends to be a stressful, messy, and overlong endeavor. The turkey requires multiple hours' worth of preparation alone, and that’s not to mention all the other food staples of Thanksgiving. Being a host for any event is hectic enough, but Thanksgiving is on a whole other level of insanity.

So why not have fun with it?

A potluck-style meal for Thanksgiving relieves you from the pressures of holiday food prep. Coordinate with your guests as to which dishes they will bring, unless they’re okay with extra green beans with not enough stuffing.

Having a potluck can allow everyone to have fun with the Thanksgiving formula, but don’t get carried away — the turkey isn’t going anywhere. Still, add a personal touch to festivities by cooking up an old family recipe.

Even if you’re far from family this Thanksgiving, making an old family dish is a sweet and savory way to express your gratitude to the ones who’ve been there from the very beginning.

4. Make Your Own Traditions

Whether you’re far away from home or tired of watching the same movie every year, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to create new traditions. You don’t have to watch the Cowboys game if you don’t want to (unless they’re good this year), so flip the channel to something else.

Or just ditch the TV entirely and find other post-food activities. In the same vein as the turkey trot, gather everyone and go for a nice walk around the neighborhood. The house can become a little jam-packed after a while, so go out for a little bit and catch the sunset while breathing in the fresh autumn air.

Get those old board games out of storage. Playing games is a fantastic bonding activity as long as you don’t get too competitive. No one likes a tryhard. Still, let your inner-Monopoly savant shine through when the time comes.

5. Practice Gratitude

Beyond the food, beyond the turkey trot, beyond the friendships ended by a single game of Monopoly, there is one absolute when it comes to a happy Thanksgiving: it’s all about giving thanks.

Practicing gratitude is a powerful, loving, and at times humbling activity. It’s the end of the year and we all have our own problems and plights to sort through. Take this Thanksgiving to recognize the truly good things in your life.

We all have different things to be thankful for but we all have something in our lives worth appreciating. This might mean calling your family for that overdue phone call, performing random acts of kindness, or reaching out to an old friend.


There’s no shortage of things to be thankful for. You can even be grateful for yourself. We’re our own coach, so remember to give yourself some well-deserved words of encouragement.

By now you know that Thanksgiving is more than just another name for Turkey Day. This holiday season, make festivities a little more special by doing the things you want to do: go for a run, create new traditions, and let the people in your life know you’re glad they’re here.