Healthy Thanksgiving Tips & Recipes
Thanksgiving is the time of year to enjoy food, family traditions, and memories but the holiday season can also be a time when people worry about weight gain. This year, we are here to give you all the tips and tricks you need to enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without the guilt. Remember that no matter what happens, one day of eating is not what defines our weight - it's what we eat day-to-day-to-day over a long period of time that determines our overall health and weight. So enjoy the meal, make choices that you will feel good about, and the next morning get right back to your healthy eating routine!
Come hungry but not starving. It may seem like a good idea to save your appetite for the main event, but when we show up to dinner that hungry, our willpower tends to disappear and we're likely to eat whatever's in sight. Keep your eating habits that day as normal as possible. Start your morning with a satisfying breakfast filled with protein, produce and high fiber carbs. About 1 hour before your thanksgiving meal begins eat a protein-produce snack (like yogurt with berries, hard boiled egg and an apple, carrots and hummus) so that you enter your thanksgiving meal in full control.
Eat, don't drink your calories. It might be tempting to sip on cider or wine throughout the meal, but if you're looking to cut down on calories, limit the amount of sugary or alcoholic beverages you consume. Try sticking to lemon water or a flavored seltzer.
If you're hosting this year, challenge yourself to lighten up one of your classic dishes using our recipe ideas on the next few pages. If you're not hosting, offer to bring a healthy dish that you'll both enjoy and feel good about eating like roasted root vegetables, a festive salad or a cauliflower mash.
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables before anything else. This will leave less room on your plate for the more decadent dishes that are calorie-dense. Next, fill 1/4 of your plate with protein (like turkey), and 1/4 of your plate with one serving of the carb of your choice. Challenge yourself to make your first bite veggies, then have some protein, before going for the carb. Thinking about getting seconds? That's ok but commit to eating in this order again - first veggies, then protein, and then the carb. This technique helps you fill up most on the lower calorie foods. Plus often times you will fill up before you even get to the carb.
Practice mindful eating. Savor every bite during your meal. Eat slowly and notice all of the wonderful flavors and textures in your mouth. Put your fork down in between bites to talk to family and friends, and slow yourself down. You'll enjoy the meal more this way and feel more satisfied afterwards.
Here are some lightened up recipes you can download:
Roasted Squash, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad
Roasted Vegetables with Gremolata
Green Beans with Almonds
Lightened Up Pumpkin Pie