Ask any elderly person and they will tell you Thanksgiving is all about counting your blessings—not your calories. But the fact of the matter is we tend to overindulge in eating on this day, forgetting that an average traditional Thanksgiving meal packs about 3,000 calories and 100 grams of fat. This only adds to our health concerns later and leads to straining our waistbands. Undoubtedly, Thanksgiving is the time to spoil yourself with a range of food choices, but it’s worth introducing new flavors and healthy foods to keep both the family and the weight scale happy.
Healthy Eating Tips on Thanksgiving
Most of us believe in feasting for the holiday, stuffing ourselves more than the turkey and forgetting everything about the sugars and calories. But when it comes to choosing health over taste, without denying yourself the pleasure of a scrumptious feast, it is best to substitute the worst offenders with healthy ingredients and cook a deliciously healthy Thanksgiving dinner. If you have knowledge of the components of healthy eating, you can easily navigate Thanksgiving with a satisfied stomach and without any regrets.
Consume Reasonable Potions
Eating healthfully doesn’t mean forgoing your favorite foods, especially when the temptations are hard to resist. Pick pumpkin or fruit pie which tend to have fewer calories than the pecan or chocolate pie options. Avoid pie crusts that are loaded with nuts and high-calorie butter. Take a slice of the pie to taste that heavenly dessert, but pack the rest of your plate with berries for dessert. If you are baking a homemade pie, replace high calorie ingredients with lower calorie substitutes, such as skim milk instead of evaporated milk.
Color Your Plate
The more colorful the plate the better it will be for your health. Fill up half your plate with fruits, vegetables, and a whole wheat roll, while leaving a quarter of the space for mashed or sweet potatoes and turkey or ham. By filling yourself up on higher nutrition, yet lower caloric, density things you will feel full but not bloated.
Replace Unhealthy Ingredients With Healthy Ones
It’s easy to make Thanksgiving feast healthier if you are serious about healthy eating.
- Instead of adding butter to mashed potatoes, mix in roasted garlic, herbs, or chicken broth to not only perk up the flavor, but also keep the calories away.
- Substitute traditional stuffing made with fatty sausage with sliced apples, chopped vegetables, and broth or chicken or turkey sausage. Forget the white bread and instead use brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat bread or mashed potatoes as the main ingredient.
- For green bean casserole, a traditional favorite, replace high fat cream with green beans seasoned with herbs as a less oily alternative.
- This Thanksgiving, it’s time to keep health first. So shun the idea of cranberry sauce, and instead replace it with cranberry salad, which will add variety to the table and tantalize taste buds.
- Since yogurt doesn’t have as much fat or protein as sour cream, use Greek yogurt for dips instead of cream. This way you not only add to the taste, but also avoid putting in too many calories.
- Dark meat has more fat compared to white meat. Limiting your potion of dark meat will have a much bigger health impact. Avoid eating the turkey skin to cut fat out of your Thanksgiving meal.
These are a few choices to eat healthy this Thanksgiving. Remember, Thanksgiving is all about showing gratitude to others, not overindulging in unhealthy eating habits!