As the years pass, it seems that more and more people make a conscious effort to not overindulge as much on Thanksgiving. It’s a day that involves laughter, joy, and gratitude, but also eating, lots of eating. Chalk it up to a cheat day, holiday food pass, or whatever you like, but the calories don’t lie. Fortunately, there are ways to still enjoy Thanksgiving without feeling bad about yourself.
To be clear, Thanksgiving is not healthy. There are, however, certain tips and tricks that can make it a little healthier. If you start out the holidays on the right foot, you’re bound to have a successful, more health conscious end of your year. Isn’t it better to enter the new year with a health conscious mind?
According to registered dietitians, people regularly enter self-induced food comas after gorging thousands of calories. That’s typically because people enter the big feast with the wrong mindset. Although Thanksgiving will never be as healthy as drinking a spirulina smoothie, there are ways you can enjoy turkey without feeling like a stuffed bird. Continue reading to find out how.
Make It A Three-Meal Day
Dietitians agree that the majority of people wake up on Thanksgiving with a similar mindset: save room for later. People skip breakfast and lunch so they can shovel endless forkfuls of food into their mouths once the bird is served. When you wake up with the mindset that you’re going to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you actually eat less at the big meal. If you have an early Thanksgiving, consider eating breakfast and a light snack before the big meal.
Have Fun With Vegetables
Nowadays, there are so many recipes to make that embrace some of fall’s greatest produce items. Consider making dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted carrots, roasted sweet potatoes, or even baked squash. Another way to encourage healthy eating is to put out vegetable snacks. Carrot, celery, and bell pepper sticks with hummus or guacamole make great appetizers that people can enjoy before the big meal.
Rethink Your Flavor Fix
Many dietitians explain that there are a lot of benefits to certain dishes at thanksgiving. For example, cranberries exhibit potent antioxidant activity, but canned cranberry sauce is not the way to absorb those nutrients. Instead of eating that sugary processed sauce, consider getting your cranberry fix by adding fresh cranberries to braised greens like kale or Swiss chard. You can still enjoy that tart flavor without the added sugars!
Outsmart The Buffet
When you stand in front of a table of temptation, it’s easy to scoop a little bit of every dish onto your plate. Before you know it, you have three pounds of food on your plate and you’re on your way to a food coma. By that point, the buffet has outsmarted you. Take the offensive and outsmart the buffet by starting off with vegetables, which helps take the edge off your appetite. Additionally, dietitians recommend that people avoid alcohol because alcohol lowers blood sugar and can interact with diabetes medication.
Leave It Alone If It’s Not Themed
There are many dishes that only see the light of day on Thanksgiving or at a Christmas feast. It’s better to consume those dishes and leave everyday fare alone. You can enjoy cheese and crackers whenever you want, but stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy are not regular meal items. The food you eat should mean something to you, so don’t waste calories on snacks or dishes you can eat whenever you want.
Replace Salt With Herbs And Spices
Salt is the most popular seasoning for the Thanksgiving spread. By the time you season the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and other dishes, you may have emptied the entire salt shaker. It’s better to use a wider variety of seasonings in place of a lot of salt. When seasoning the turkey, use smoked paprika, sage, tarragon, rosemary, minced garlic, and olive oil. Use turmeric to spice the sweet potatoes and add parsley to the mashed potatoes. These spices add more depth of flavor and lessen the need for salt.