A Healthier Thanksgiving Feast Is Something to Be Grateful For
Getting ready for Thanksgiving? We enjoy spending this holiday with friends and family, reflecting on the things in our lives for which we are grateful.
And then there’s the food! The roasted turkey with our favorite stuffing—or stuffings, if you’re one of the families that has a competition going. Mashed potatoes with lots of gravy. Sweet potatoes, perhaps baked in Grandma’s traditional way (yes, there will be marshmallows). Fluffy rolls, cranberry sauce, maybe corn pudding or the infamous and beloved green bean casserole. Wash it down with a few glasses of wine. And just as we’re as stuffed as the turkey, out come the pies!
It’s no wonder that according to University of Alabama Birmingham dietitian Ashley Delk, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving—that’s three times the recommended daily allowance.
And though Thanksgiving comes only once a year, it’s followed by more holiday feasts that can leave us struggling to zip up our jeans by New Year’s Day. How can we avoid the unwanted gift of a few extra pounds? Here are some tips to be thankful for:
Don’t sit down at the Thanksgiving table hungry. You’ll be less likely to stuff yourself if you have a snack about half an hour before dinner is served.
Eat only the foods that you really like. Don’t feel obligated to take a serving of dishes that aren’t your favorites.
Be portion savvy. Does Grandma’s holiday china feature those huge dinner plates? Use a salad plate instead. And just help yourself to a bit of each offering.
Go easy on the gravy. It’s almost pure fat, and can double the calories of your meal.
Choose fresh, steamed or roasted veggies, rather than in a casserole with added fat and sodium.
Pumpkin pie is a good choice, rather than apple or mincemeat—and remember that pecan pie is by far the most calorie-laden at over 500 calories per slice. Whatever pie you opt for, just ask for a sliver rather than a full serving.
Watch what you drink. Go easy on the alcohol; sip sparkling water instead. And don’t forget that a cup of eggnog has up to 400 calories—comparable to having a second slice of pie!
Save it for later. A full Thanksgiving feast is for sure a delicious tradition! Remember that leftovers are just as yummy. Make a plate to enjoy while doing your Black Friday shopping.
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about a food plan that’s right for you.