Thanksgiving is a holiday tradition filled with family, fun and food, food and more food. The average person will consume approximately 3000 – 4500 additional calories during the Thanksgiving eat-a-thon weekend.
Most Nutritionists would tell you that Thanksgiving is just another day and there is no need to indulge or overeat. While that might be true, it’s just not realistic for most people. Staying on track with your health goals means understanding how to balance your meals and enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods in moderation. Check out my tips below to help you stay on track.
10 Nutrition Tips for Thanksgiving
- DO NOT SKIP MEALS! Eat a protein packed breakfast and/or lunch before the big feast. If you starve yourself during the day, you could wind up SO hungry that by the time you sit down at the dinner table you eat WAY too much food and that mindful eating goes right out the window.
- Go for lean, white meat turkey to get the most bang for your calorie-buck. Dark meat has about 15% more calories and 30-40% more fat than light meat. If you prefer the dark meat, then at least take off the skin since that is where most of the fat (added calories) is.
- Start with the protein (animal or vegetarian). Start with your protein choice and then work on the vegetables. Leave the starchy carbs until the end. The protein will help slow the brake down of the starchy carbs. All that chewing will help you to feel full before you get to the starch.
- Pause and take some breathes. After you finish each dish on your plate put your fork down. Take a couple of slow deep breathes. Enjoy what you’ve previously eaten before starting on the next dish. The deep breathes don’t have to be obvious. Taking pause and some deep breathes will also help aid digestion.
- Choose calorie free beverages. If you are going to be having alcoholic beverages then everything else you drink should be calorie free. Skip the pop, coffees and juices. Drink lots of water to avoid the dehydration that comes along with drinking too much.
- Ask if you can make a side dish or salad; make it a tasty guilt free dish so you will have at least one thing to splurge on. Veggie dishes don’t have to be boring. Check out the recipes below!
- Burn calories! The more calories you burn with activity, the more food you can consume without feeling terrible about it. Do not skip the exercise leading up to the feast or on the day of. Make time to get to exercise and raise your heart rate. Your metabolism will thank you for it.
- Wear form fitting clothing and you will be less likely to overeat. No sweat pants or stretchy pants. No one wants to see you with your pants unbuttoned after the meal.
- Use a salad plate instead of a regular dinner plate. If your plate is smaller you will not have as much room on it and won’t overload it with too much of the stuff you shouldn’t have a lot of. Also, this helps trick your eye; no one likes to see half their plate empty.
- Keep your goal in mind! Although you may only overindulge a couple times over the holidays; a little plus a little plus a little adds up to a whole lot. Remind yourself why you want to stay healthy or lose weight and keep that goal in the forefront of your mind.
Mock Mashed Potatoes
1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 tsp chicken bouillon (may substitute ½ tsp salt)
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
- Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
- Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done.
- Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
- In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
- Garnish with chives.
- Hint: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a whole new taste.
Balsamic Roasted Vegetables[i]
Serves 4-6 as a side
4 beets, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
4-5 loose cups Brussel sprouts, ends cut off, outer peel removed and cut in halves or quarters
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Place all the veggies including the garlic in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil and salt. Transfer to a glass roasting pan or a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
- Removes from the oven and mix, cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the veggies are tender.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist at the Collective Health Clinic serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in weight loss, hormonal issues, detox, meal plans, nutritional consulting and family nutrition.
[i] ‘UnDiet’ Meghan Telpnerxture.