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Making wise eating choices on Thanksgiving

What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Many people think of their family traditions, which all revolve around a surplus of absolutely delicious food. Between Grandma’s thick and creamy mashed potatoes, your Aunt Nelly’s smooth and spicy pumpkin pie, and your Uncle Sal’s crunchy, green bean casserole, you have to have a taste of everything. There’s no way that you can pass up any of the food that is set in front of you, yet a single meal can add up to over 2500 calories – more than what some people eat in 2 days!

Thanksgiving Doesn’t Mean Denying Yourself

It’s okay to have a taste, but watch your portions. A spoonful of banana pudding with a cup of plain vanilla ice cream is healthier than a heaping bowl of the same pudding slathered with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Desert definitely isn’t the only thing to be concerned with though. If you’re not careful, then you can blow your calorie limit well before you’re halfway through the main course!

Make sure that you watch your portions at dinner as well, especially since so many of the traditional holiday foods are so high in starch. Maybe you really like mashed potatoes, but you know that you cannot pass up the stuffing. Allowing yourself the pleasure of a small portion of both the mashed potatoes and the stuffing means you get to enjoy the flavor without the bloated, guilty feeling that comes after you’ve overindulged.

Healthy Foods to Include on the Menu

Bringing a healthy dish to the family dinner is not just helping you stick to your diet, but it’s also encouraging your family to make wiser choices as well. Instead of griping about all of the unhealthy options, bring your own healthy foods – or healthier versions of family favorites – to help everyone get something in their system that isn’t quite as bad and attempts to even everything out.

  • Nobody’s asking you to serve tofurky for Thanksgiving dinner. Serve white turkey breast with no skin instead of dark meat, which is not as good for you.
  • Everyone loves sweet potato casserole, but it definitely is not the healthiest version. Try baked or roasted sweet potatoes, and definitely skip the marshmallows.
  • Try your stuffing with less bread and more alternative ingredients, like sausage and apples or even naturally sweet cranberries. There’s even a gluten-free version of stuffing that looks more like coleslaw but tastes delicious!
  • Apple raspberry crumble with oatmeal topping over pies is a delicious alternative to high-calorie apple pies. Serve it up with no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream as an added bonus.
  • Unsweeted tea or water with lemon instead of soda and other high-calorie drinks cuts a major amount of calories that enter your body without much notice. Enjoy a cup of black coffee after dinner. It not only lacks sugar, but it also is a natural digestive aide.

What to Do When You Do Indulge

If you do slip up and overindulge, don’t beat yourself up with guilt. Instead, work on a plan to cut back over the next few weeks. Eating an apple or a banana and drinking a large glass of water about an hour before a meal will prevent you from overindulging during mealtimes. Spend a little extra time at the gym, and continue to try and watch what you eat from one day to the next. After all, Christmas is right around the corner!