You don't have to gobble 'til you wobble to enjoy everything Thanksgiving has to offer.
This time of year is filled with friends, family, and food. LOTS of food. Treats and warm comforting dishes, sweet and savory. We don't have to let that get the best of us however. Here are some tips, so that you don't turn into this year's stuffed turkey! Some of them you can implement if you are the family chef, and some if you are just the family eater. These tips will allow you to enjoy your favorites, and with some attention, that Thanksgiving meal can even be a healthy one!
Start with breakfast! I know it sounds like a fabulous idea to skip breakfast and wait for that big meal and just load up. Eating a healthy and filling breakfast will help, because it will keep your head in the game, meaning, you will make better choices at the big meal, and won't just go crazy.
Here's a great "Healthy Breakfast" article from another of our newsletter writers!
Don't avoid it all. Moderation can allow you to have a little of everything. It's a celebration, celebrate! Eat what you want, in moderation. Don't force yourself to be sad while eating a salad while everyone else is eating tantalizing dishes, unless that's your thing. I actually do like salad as a Thanksgiving option myself.
Fill up on the healthier options, and have small helpings of the more decadent.
As a cook, make healthy alterations, keeping taste in mind. Swapping out heavy creams for low fat stock, or lower fat/calorie choices like yogurt are great ways to keep things healthy.
Appetizers can be loaded with calories, and sometimes before the meal, you have gobbled down so many appetizers that there is no room left. Try to go for healthy options like a vegetable platter with hummus or dip. Careful with the dips, they can punch a significant amount of calories in a tiny little serving. As a chef, you can use lower fat dips, or make your own with Greek yogurt.
As far as the turkey? the thighs are the highest in calories. Sticking with skinless white meat is the healthiest and offers tons of protein. The good thing about turkey is that it is a really healthy meat overall.
Swap mashed white potato for mashed sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, have some natural sweetness, but are also great for stabilizing blood sugar. If you can't part with your traditional white mashed, check out this article ("Protein-Packed Mashed Potatoes") for a new way to make them healthier.
Another popular Thanksgiving side is stuffing. Here is something crazy I learned, stuffing from the box might be healthier than from scratch! I had no idea, and I am honestly delighted! Don't go hog wild however, this is an "in moderation" dish.
Go skinny on other dishes like casseroles which are often made with creamed soups, breads, and cranberry sauce which has a ton of sugar.
When it comes to dessert, most often the more delicious it sounds, the more loaded it is. Chocolate is on the top of the caution list, as are pecan pie, and cheesecake are on the heavier end. Fruit pies, skipping the upper crust are a middle of the road option. Pumpkin pie is a relatively healthy choice and maybe even one of the best, with pumpkin being very good for you.
Finally, get out. After that yummy meal, go for a walk with your family or friends, hike, bike, get Uncle Bob to try rollerblading (with pads), or play flag football. Even doing some yoga with a promised black Friday shopping trip at midnight would suffice!
Have a great Thanksgiving, full of appreciation for the great things in life!
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