Sydney Chon, Teen Board Member
St. John's School - Houston, Texas
Teen Board Member 2021 - Present
Sydney is a senior at St. John's School. She is a national level foil fencer, member of her school's top choral group, and helps lead multiple school clubs, such as the Sustainability and Upcycling Club and Women of Color Club. Sydney likes to volunteer and has led service initiatives at Nora's Home, the Texas Children's Hospital, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. In her free time, Sydney enjoys creating art, baking, exercising, and spending time with friends and family.
How to have a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving
As the leaves begin to change colors and Starbucks introduces their newest pumpkin flavored frappuccinos, it is clear that fall is upon us. Many of us associate the fall season with change, whether it be because of the leaves, menus, clothes, or weather. However, one thing we can try to maintain during this season is our health. Here are five tips for staying healthy this November and having a Happy Thanksgiving:
Stay Active: While it’s tempting to spend the entire Thanksgiving week lying on the couch, it’s important for us to stay active and physically challenge our bodies. As many of us are aware, physical activity improves bodily health and prevents diseases like type 2 diabetes. However, many people are reluctant to work out during the holidays. Though some people enjoy long hours spent at the gym, weightlifting, doing HIIT cardio circuits, and running long distances, most of us want to relax during the holidays. In this case, we can simultaneously enjoy Thanksgiving while taking care of our physical health by taking family walks, tossing around a football, or going on bike rides. Physical activity does not always mean strenuous and forced effort. Instead, try starting new, fun, and engaging family traditions like Thanksgiving tennis matches and relay races!
Prepare Healthy Foods: One way to minimize the number of unhealthy foods we eat this season is to avoid preparing them all together. When cooking Thanksgiving dinner, make an effort to add less salt, butter, cheese, and gravies to vegetable dishes. Use fat-free chicken broth as the base of gravies, and try yogurt or fat-free sour creams when making mashed potatoes and casseroles. Focus on incorporating more whole vegetables, healthy fats and proteins into your diet. Turkey is naturally lean and packed with protein. Sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates and also have potassium and magnesium to improve heart health. Even pumpkin pie can be good for you, as it contains potassium, Vitamin C, iron, and your daily recommended value of Vitamin A. When making healthy choices around the holidays, it’s not so much about what you eat, but how much you eat and how you prepare the food you eat. Be sure to be health conscious and realistic in creating your meals and dividing your portions of food.
Slowly Savor: At the dinner table, the sight of pumpkin pie, turkey, stuffing, casserole, mashed potatoes and more can feel overwhelming. Seeing all of our favorite foods together waiting to be eaten is enough to make us immediately want to dig in. However, before beginning this feast, it is important to remind ourselves to be present when we eat. The human stomach takes at least twenty minutes to sense feelings of fullness. If we only consume without giving our bodies a break to sense whether we are full or not, we can easily eat more than our bodies need; overeating can lead to physical discomfort and, overtime, weight gain. To keep our bodies feeling their best, we should take our time eating, savoring all that we consume.
Drink Water: Drinking water is incredibly important, especially during the holiday season. Unlike sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks, water is vital for a properly functioning body and does not include any unhealthy, added ingredients. Tap and sparkling water are good alternatives to sweetened beverages. Water also helps our stomach regulate feelings of hunger and keeps us from overeating.
Enjoy yourself: Though many of us think of Thanksgiving as the holiday of eating, it is also a time for family reunions and creating new, lifelong memories. Instead of fixating on food, remember to enjoy the company of those around you, whether it be your neighbors, close friends, and/or family. Thanksgiving is a time for connecting with those you love, and food is just one way of accomplishing that. Conversation at the dinner table is equally as important as the meal.