Thanksgiving may be a time to catch up with family and loved ones, but it is also a notoriously unhealthy holiday.Huge meals, extra servings, and lounging around watching a game on the TV can lead to some serious artery-clogging issues for those that are not careful.

While those huge portions are tempting, here are some simple tips to consider that will keep you and your family healthy throughout the holiday season.

Eat Well All Day

Skipping out on meals throughout the day may seem like a good way to cut out some calories, but heading into a Thanksgiving dinner hungrier than usual can spell disaster.

During the few days leading up to the holidays, families should focus on eating as clean and lean as possible. This includes having a filling breakfast and lunch on the day of Thanksgiving packed with fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein such as egg whites and chicken breasts.

Skip the Appetizers

Even apparently healthy appetizers are often packed with unhealthy ingredients including fats, oils, and salt. Unless the appetizers are raw fruits and vegetables, it is probably best to steer clear of them completely.

If there is an absolutely irresistible appetizer that only comes around once a year, it is best to limit yourself to one small portion and then to move away from the platter to reduce temptation.

Drink Water Constantly

A heart healthy holiday isn’t just about what is eaten, but it is also about what we drink.Having a few glasses of sparkling wine, soda, or sweetened cocktails will add many calories as an entire meal and is especially unhealthy for the heart.

To combat this, everyone should attempt to have a full glass of water before a larger meal and keep water close by at all times. Even just 8 to 12 ounces of water just before a meal will trick the body into thinking it is full when the main dishes come around.

Organize Fun Outdoor Activities

Thanksgiving is often a time when the family packs around the TV to watch the Bears lose, but creating at least one physical activity for the day will boost one’s metabolism and keep people out of the kitchen.

Thirty minutes to an hour of football, tag, or a family walk earlier in the day also has the added benefit of improving one’s mood and helping relieve some of the stress of the holidays.

Lighten Up

When a family takes a little extra time to get in some physical activity as well as eat healthy before and after Thanksgiving, they have a little more wiggle room when it comes to a yearly indulgence.

Making some minor changes throughout the year means that a slightly larger Thanksgiving meal with seasonal foods is not going to destroy one’s diet or hurt their heart. This is especially true when portions are kept to a minimum, desserts are left for another time, and the family makes a pact to steer clear of second servings.