Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away and it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to get through the day without gaining weight or feeling guilty about what you eat. Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal contains over 2,000 calories? That’s an entire day’s worth of calories in just ONE meal! So, with that, here’s some tips for a healthy Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving holiday can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline. Here are some healthy Thanksgiving eating tips that will help you maintain your diet and be healthy after the Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself.
Now, one of the most difficult things about Thanksgiving is that most of us are guests in another person’s home. You don’t have any control over what is being served and it’s not like you can bring your own food! If you are a guest of a Thanksgiving dinner:
- Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry. Most of us eat faster and more carelessly when we are hungry. Be sure to eat a wholesome breakfast and/or lunch before you go to Thanksgiving dinner. This will help you to avoid overeating.
- Don’t treat Thanksgiving dinner as an all-you-can-eat buffet. And it isn’t all about mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
- Turkey – go skinless. Choose a lean, 4-oz piece of turkey and remove the skin to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your appetite for the side dishes (vegetables) and desserts.
- Side Dishes – watch your portion size. Ok, so the side dishes are usually the best part of the whole meal. So when you do go for them, go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is the key.
- Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. Foods that are high in fat can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as the cheese-filled casseroles usually featured in a traditional Thanksgiving meal . Just a few examples…. Mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.
- Drink plenty of water. Soda, alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink water (it’s calorie-free!) to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
Now, if you happen to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner as the honorable chef, there are a few things you can do to keep the food healthy. Don’t worry… you won’t disappoint your guests!
- Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients. For instance, try making your mashed potatoes with skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk/cream.
- Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make a pot of stew with fresh chunky vegetables. Check out this week’s recipe!
- Experiment. There are tons of recipes online for healthy Thanksgiving meals. Just do a search and you can find just about anything. All you have to do is be willing to experiment!