Thanksgiving is generally thought of as a day to stuff yourself silly and pass out in front of the TV while watching football, but it doesnt have to be that way. You can get through this food-heavy holiday without overindulging and still enjoy every bite!
1. START WITH A SALAD
Make the first course of your Thanksgiving meal a big green salad with plenty of fresh chopped veggies mixed in. Skip the fattening dressings in favor of your favorite vinegar or a fat-free vinaigrette, and load up on a healthy dose of fiber before the heavier food comes out.
Leafy greens and raw vegetables full you up without adding a ton of calories, so youll feel satisfied with smaller portions later on. If youre a guest instead of a host and cant be sure youll get your greens in, eat a salad before you go or bring one with you to eat before the main meal.
2. COOK LIGHTER
Fat and sugar run rampant in Thanksgiving dishes. Create healthier fare with simple substitutions like:
- Mashing potatoes with vegetable broth instead of milk and butter
- Steaming green beans and baking sweet potatoes instead of making casseroles
- Making gravy with vegetable broth
- Creating a whole wheat stuffing with no butter or oil
- Using a nut-based crust for the pumpkin pie
3. GO PLANT-BASED
A growing body of research shows that foregoing animal products altogether may be your best bet when it comes to staying healthy.
To enjoy a plant-based feast, rethink your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Veggie or lentil loaf, stuffed squash or peppers, stuffed seitan roast and one dish casseroles are all tasty options to enjoy in lieu of turkey.Serve up the usual sides or get creative with sauted greens, roasted root vegetables or stuffing with nuts and dried fruit mixed in.
4. EAT SMART
Before serving yourself, survey all the available dishes. Start with small amounts of each food that you want to try. Using a smaller plate helps you visualize reasonable portions to avoid overdoing it.
Eat slowly, being sure to chew well, and pay attention to how you feel when youre done. If youre full, dont go back for seconds. You can always partake of the leftovers of whatever dishes you missed.
5. DONT SIT AROUND
Healthy Thanksgiving food may still be heavier than what youre used to eating, leaving you feeling sluggish once the meal is over.
Instead of giving in to the food coma, head outside and move around. Take a walk through the neighborhood, or round up the family for a game of backyard football. If its too cold to go outside, play an active indoor game to get everyone energized.
Be sure to keep up with your regular exercise regimen, too, since Thanksgiving is just the start of a holiday season filled with food.
Put these tips into practice this Thanksgiving to keep your health on track without sacrificing any of the enjoyment that surrounds a traditional holiday meal.