Sitting down at Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie staring back at you is no time to decide you’re going to be healthy. But, you’d also like to avoid the food coma that inevitably happens each year and lands you on the couch, groaning from discomfort for the rest of the night.
Lucky for you, you can have your turkey and eat it too! Whether you’re able to make up your own plate and pay attention to your portions, or you’re at the mercy of grandma piling plates high with a little bit of everything, these tips can help you make healthy choices and feel good too.
Posted by: Consumer Reports
Lighten Your Recipes
Thanksgiving is a great time to serve family recipes like Grandma’s pumpkin pie or your dad’s dinner rolls. Our advice: Don’t mess with your favorite holiday dishes. But do try swapping or adding ingredients to less sacred one.
• Skip the cream. Use Greek yogurt or whole milk instead in mashed potatoes, creamy soups, and creamed onion or spinach recipes.
• Reduce the sugar. Cut it back by 10 to 25 percent in baking recipes. You’ll barely taste the difference.
• Add some fiber. Replace 25 to 50 percent of the all-purpose flour called for in recipes with whole-wheat flour. Or try half all-purpose, half white whole-wheat flour, a lighter, milder version of the whole grain. If your recipe calls for breadcrumbs or panko, opt for whole wheat.
• Upgrade the stuffing. Replace half the white bread with whole wheat, use low-sodium chicken broth, and add extra vegetables, such as carrots, mushrooms, and peppers.
• Be sodium savvy. Using the flavors of the season—thyme, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves—will cut the need for salt. Choose low-sodium broths and homemade dressings (which tend to be lower in sodium than many bottled ones).
• Boost nutrition. Adding small but mighty nutrition powerhouses can make food healthier and more flavorful. Try pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots in salads, and roasted pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts in stuffings.
[Read full article: 6 Ways to Eat Healthier at Thanksgiving Dinner]
Eating breakfast, staying hydrated, and being mindful of what you're eating by slowing down and savoring your meal will help too! But Thanksgiving Day doesn’t just have to be about the meal. Other things you can do to stay physically active is get outside (weather permitting) and take a walk, organize a friendly game of football, find a turkey trot near you, or volunteer at a soup kitchen.
But if your plans do involve staying around the kitchen table, don’t let the food be the main focus. Start a puzzle everyone can work on together, bring out the board games, put together some fun conversation starters, or have everyone share what they’re thankful for.
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