If you’re dieting or just watching your weight, enjoying turkey with family and friends at Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to mean gaining unwanted pounds.
Just follow a few healthy nutrition tips, and you can maintain your weight or even continue to lose pounds while still enjoying turkey, stuffing and side dishes at even the most calorie-rich party.
Don’t Go to Thanksgiving Dinner Hungry
Saving all your turkey day calories for Thanksgiving dinner is just a recipe for overindulgence. Start the day with a healthy but hearty breakfast including whole grain bread and protein such as an egg and a low-fat breakfast meat.
A good breakfast will not only prevent you from feeling run down early in the day, it will also keep you from arriving at your relative’s house or buffet restaurant famished and ready to eat two or three helpings of sweet potato casserole.
Potluck Thanksgiving? Bring Healthy Side Dishes
If you’re attending a potluck Thanksgiving dinner this year, forgo traditional fat- and calorie-laden side dishes like green bean casserole for healthier fare including the following:
- squash or other seasonal vegetable cooked in a little olive oil or margarine, onions and your favorite seasonings
- a salad made with seasonal greens
- soup made with pumpkin or butternut squash
Hosting Thanksgiving? Don’t Forget “Cheesy” Appetizers
Before Victorian-era Thanksgiving celebrations started focusing on rich pies and pastries, cheese trays were a big part of early holiday celebrations. Why not honor our ancestors’ traditions – as well as those dinner guests trying to avoid sugar and starches – by starting out the meal with a selection of various cheeses for your guests? Cheese will provide a great variety of flavors for your guests while also preventing overeating later.
How to Fill Your Thanksgiving Plate
Once the meal begins, pay attention to how you fill your plate. Only fill half with meat and starches such as stuffing or potatoes. Fill the other half with vegetables.
If you’re surrounded by a variety of foods you don’t eat the rest of the year, take advantage of those by sampling a little of each and leaving the more common foods alone. Those you can have any time of year.
Make Thanksgiving dinner a special meal by relishing in unique, fresh dishes made by people you don’t see very often.
Don’t Forget to Give Thanks
Be mindful of what you’re eating on Thanksgiving, but don’t get so wrapped up in food, calories and cooking that you forget to really give thanks for what you have.
Take time to count your blessings, share laughs and good conversation with family and friends and say a prayer for those less fortunate.
The Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming holiday season are brimming with opportunities to give some of what you have to charities focused on helping those who are experiencing tough times. Put a little aside and remember them this year as you enjoy your family, friends and turkey dinner this Thanksgiving.