How to (try to) stay healthy this Thanksgiving!
Food + Family + Football = Every Thanksgiving I have ever experienced. My large family gets together with a lengthy menu of traditional family recipes that make an appearance on every T-day table. Two turkeys, cornbread dressing, potatoes, casserole, breads, green beans, DESSERT… the list is quite lengthy. Needless to say no Thanksgiving in my family is about cutting calories, fat, or carbs.
I refuse to sacrifice not eating any of the menu on Turkey Day nor reject the wine that comes along with it. Sacrifice on my favorite food holiday of the year!? No. Never. However…. I can compromise. Over the years I have come up with some routines and eating patterns for Thanksgiving to lighten up my load a little bit.
- White Meat > Dark Meat: My husband hates this, but it can cut out a lot of fat from your meal. Opting for white meat turkey over dark meat turkey keeps lean, low-fat protein on your plate rather than fatty protein. Also if 25% of the plate is white meat turkey, it provides your body with a good protein keeping you full, rather than reaching for that extra piece of pie.
- Fresher is better: My grandma makes the most AMAZING fresh jalapeno cranberry sauce. It’s tart, sweet and has a bit of a kick. My aunt makes these crispy sautéed green beans with slivered almonds… that I dream about for months. My mom uses fresh veggies and home made cornbread for her dressing. See a theme? Everything is fresh! Try to eliminate canned or boxed sides, cutting a large amount of preservatives from your plate. Using fresh whole ingredients add more vital nutrients to your plate. So even if you do like to load up on the sides, you can do it without loading on chemicals.
- Skip the rolls: Potatoes, dressing/stuffing, pie… Carbs are abundant during our Thanksgiving meal. If you leave out a roll you save yourself from loading up on extra unnecessary carbs.
- Slow down your fork: Most definitely the hardest rule for me to follow, but it has kept me out of misery in past few years. During Thanksgiving meals we can find ourselves eating a million miles a minute… getting every bite of goodness as quick as possible. The problem? It takes a while for your stomach to register when it has had enough to eat. By taking time in-between bites and chewing food slowly, it reduces the risk of becoming miserably full.
- Walk it out: My new favorite tradition after a T-day meal is going for a walk. Enjoying the cool weather and chatting with the family is a great way to end the day. Nothing too stressful, just a stroll around the neighborhood is great. Walking after eating sparks the digestive organs to get moving and boosts your metabolism, giving your pie less time to sit in your tummy.
I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and can’t wait to smartly indulge this year! Remember its about enjoying… compromise and don’t restrict yourself 🙂 I hope everyone has a delicious and fantastic day filled with food, family, and fun!
Happy eating, ya’ll