Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we all know what that means…FOOD! Many of us are on a path to health and wellness and a big part of that path is healthy eating. I thought it would be fun to talk a little about the healthier choices you can make on Thanksgiving while still enjoying the meal.
Let’s start with the turkey. I am a dark meat fan myself, but by choosing white meat is the healthier option. Both white and dark meat are good sources of protein and dark meat provides more iron. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is portion size. Remember a good serving size of turkey is about 3 oz. That is about the size of a deck of cards.
Green bean casserole or raw veggies? This one should be a no brainer. Raw veggies are always better! Try to fill your plate and belly with as many veggies as possible. But if you just have to have the green bean casserole remember to keep your portion size smaller.
What about mashed potatoes vs. sweet potatoes (or yams)? That is a tough one. Most mashed potatoes are made with a lot of butter and they are known to spike insulin levels. The gravy usually eaten with them can be high in fat. Sweet potatoes or yams are the better alternative unless they are covered in butter and sauce or candied. So your best option here is to pick one and eat a smaller portion of it. Avoid eating both (pick your favorite), unless you really want to eat both then just have super small portions of each.
If you find yourself having to choose between apple and pumpkin pie go for pumpkin pie. It has less grams of fat and also has some of the wonderful benefits of pumpkin that we talked about earlier. Portion size on a slice of pie is about 1/8 of the pie. And if you have to choose between whipped cream or ice cream to top it go for the whipped cream. Pecan pie is at the bottom of the list, but again, if that is your favorite go for half a regular portion.
When it comes to the carbs of the meal (stuffing or a roll) a roll with a small amount of butter is the better way to go (avoid the white breads if you can). But how often do we eat stuffing?? Not too often, so if you love it go for it. Just try to keep your serving size to 1/2-3/4 cup of stuffing.
A few more tips to help on your healthy path this Thanksgiving. Drink plenty of water while you eat. Drinking soda, egg nog, alcohol, or juice adds unnecessary amounts of sugar to your meal, not to mention the empty calories that will not lead to you feeling full. The water will also help you feel full and keep you from eating too much. Also don’t skip breakfast!! I know it is tempting to think you will save yourself some of those calories we’ve talked about, but in reality skipping breakfast will more than likely lead you to overeating when the feast is laid before you. When you feel full stop. If you are responsible for providing a dish substitute healthier ingredients for the less healthy ones.
Probably the most important thing to remember is portion size!! Thanksgiving is a day to indulge a little and enjoy food we don’t eat regularly, just eat responsibly. Also don’t beat yourself up if you eat more than you had planned. Just do your best and leave the guilt behind!!
Happy Thanksgiving!! Don’t forget to be grateful!!