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Thinking about Thanksgiving: Healthy Eating Tips

Ways to make your Thanksgiving meal a little bit healthier.

With Thanksgiving drawing close, you are hopefully thinking about your menu and preparing your grocery list. As you put together the meal, take some time to think about how healthier food choices fit within your plan. 

The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around the lower fat turkey but some of the accompaniments can boost calories, salt and sugar. Making recipe medications is one way to manage the calories and shifting some preparation techniques can lower salt and sugar. As you put together your menu plan consider the following tips.

  • Add sliced veggies and hummus or low-fat ranch dressing to your appetizer table.
  • Make gravy and mashed potatoes with fat free broth rather than turkey drippings or butter.
  • Add a variety of veggies to stuffing – celery, onions, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, etc; consider adding fruit as well.
  • Moisten stuffing with the fat free broth.
  • Flavor foods with herbs and consider letting people add salt at the table.
  • Serve veggie sides—not just potatoes and stuffing.
  • Prepare your pumpkin pie with egg white or egg substitute and reduce sugar by about a fourth while boosting the spices.
  • Consider serving pumpkin custard or try a cookie crumb crust instead of traditional pie crust.

In addition to these recipe changes, consider smaller portion sizes for pies and desserts so that people can enjoy them without having to eat large portions – they can always go back for seconds. Alcohol can be another big contributor of calories so try to pace your drinking.

It’s not uncommon for people to limit what they eat prior to the big meal in hopes of saving calories but often this “technique” backfires and you end up eating more than you planned. This year abandon this plan and focus on smaller meals and snacks, spaced throughout the day. 

Starting the day with cereal, fruit, milk and toast, followed by a sandwich with a veggie salad can actually help you control your portions, thus better managing your calories.

With these tips in mind, I hope you have a Happy, and Healthy, Thanksgiving!

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