Keep it Healthy: The Big Thanksgiving Meal

Categories: Well Nourished

By Zil Jones, Keene State College Dietetic Intern

Thanksgiving only happens once a year so it is easy to think that it’s okay to go ahead and splurge.

Unfortunately the holiday season causes most of us to gain at least one pound — that will stay there permanently.

To keep your weight in check, follow these tips for a Thanksgiving Day that is happy and healthy.

Before the meal: Have a healthy morning

  • Eat breakfast: Skipping breakfast will leave you starving and unable to control your portions during the big meal.
  • Go for a family walk or run (Wobble Gobble)!
  • Play some touch football.
  • Encourage a game of charades.

While preparing the meal: Lighten up the recipes

  • Choose to make side dishes that are mostly vegetables: Prepare baked Brussels sprouts or a hearty salad.
  • Substitute whole grains in for refined grains: Use whole grain bread for stuffing or use whole grain flour and oats in your baked goods.
  • Try replacing sour cream on mashed potatoes with Greek yogurt.
  • Watch out for sodium: Choose low sodium cream of mushroom soup in the green bean casserole and be wary of the salt added in while cooking the stuffing.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can such as in the mashed potatoes, in the stuffing and in baked goods.
  • Substitute fruit puree for fat and oil in baked goods.

During the meal: Fill your plate smartly

  • Fill most of you plate up with the vegetable options that are available.
  • Make sure to choose a few of your holiday favorites and have less of the options that are around year-long to make sure you don’t feel deprived.
  • Resist the temptation of seconds.

Pick one dessert option and enjoy the indulgence.  And most of all be thankful for your health and the health of those sharing your meal.