Holiday gatherings are sometimes our excuse to indulge in excess and can cause frustration and stress regarding your health and fitness goals. Eating healthy on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to go without some of your favorite foods or traditions. You can make some simple positive changes to your holiday time that you may find you enjoy even more!
Plan for success…
Start your day with breakfast and some physical activity. Eat small nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day. Do not starve yourself all day to save extra calories for your Thanksgiving meal or you will be more likely to overeat. It’s common to eat over 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving. Do some extra cardio the week prior to burn some extra calories.
Keep portions small to enjoy some of your holiday favorites. Eat slowly and avoid a second plate. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with packed with fiber and water will keep you feeling full and satisfied. After eating avoid sinking into the couch or taking a nap. Take a walk or encourage a family activity that will keep you active and help burn off some of those extra calories!
Cooking tips and healthy substitutions to reduce calories and add nutrients while keeping the flavor:
- For dips, use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The consistency is similar, but with more nutrients and protein.
- Roast turkey on a rack so that the fat will drain off.
- Replace or mix mashed potatoes with low-calorie squash like butternut. Add in nonfat Greek yogurt instead of butter for a creamy consistency.
- Reduce fat and calories in your green bean casserole by omitting the cream soup and cooking it on the stovetop. Slowly sauté with onions until they caramelize and top with slivered almonds.
- Make your own cranberry sauce using a natural sweetener, or zero calorie, and fresh fruit.
- Flavor food with spice like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to reduce use of sugars.
- Too much salt can cause your body to retain water and make you feel bloated, as well as contribute to health issues. Reduce salt in your recipes and use herbs to enhance natural flavors.
Check out these two great recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu: