Guide to a Healthy-Choice Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again….the time of year where we celebrate the holiday of food, family and togetherness— Thanksgiving. As we all go home to be with our families and enjoy loving conversations with our relatives, we all can agree that the most important part of Thanksgiving is food, usually followed by “food comas”. However, can these comas be avoided? This Thanksgiving, keep some of these tips in mind when choosing your feast. We all know we would love to wake up the day after Thanksgiving feeling satisfied instead of guilty. So here is my Thanksgiving 2014 Guide to Healthy Choices.
1. Portion Size
This one is kind of a no brainer. Most Americans are used to eating meals that are twice the portion size that they should be eating. This is because restaurants and fast food places are notorious for serving huge portions. If you keep portion in mind, Thanksgiving dinner can be just as enjoyable, but not make you feel overwhelmingly full. Here is a link to the correct portion sizes of the basic food groups for you to keep in mind!
Tempted to get a second helping of your Grandma’s famous stuffing? Go for it! But keep in mind, there is always dessert later. The main issue we all suffer from on Thanksgiving is not knowing when we are eating too much. Is pumpkin pie your favorite dessert ever? Then maybe the second helping of stuffing isn’t really necessary (you have to save room for your favorite dessert after all). Substituting extra food for desserts or at least being aware of the possibility of wanting dessert later can help you cut back on that tempting second plate.
3. Veggies are key.
We all love our meat and potatoes, but vegetables make a delicious side-dish to any Thanksgiving meal, and trust me, they can be JUST as satisfying. I’m personally a huge veggie lover, but for anyone who doesn’t really enjoy their greens, I’ve included two easy recipes that make your vegetables taste literally delightful. The first recipe is for green bean casserole and the second is my Grandma’s recipe that she passed down to my family for Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole (This casserole is literally my favorite part of Thanksgiving every year, no lie.)
Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole
What you’ll need:
1 ¼ pounds of sweet potatoes or yams
1 pound of apples
1 cup of apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons of water
1/2 a cup of honey
⅓ a cup of wheat germ
How to make it :
1. Cut tips off potatoes and wash and throw them in a pot. Cover them with water.
2. Cook for 15-20 minutes until very tender
3. Drain and peel and slice the potatoes length wise
4. Let them cool first, then cut them into ½ inch slices and layer them on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
5. Peel and core and slice apples into wedges and layer them on top of the potatoes, spread them out so you can see both of the potatoes and apples equally.
6. Heat up apple juice until it boils.
7. Combine the cornstarch, water and juice.
8. Turn the heat down and cook and stir the sauce until it is clear and thickened.
9. Add the honey.
10. Spoon the sauce over the apples and potatoes and sprinkle the wheat germ on top.
11. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. Make smart choices for Seconds
We all know it's tempting to feel the urge to serve yourself seconds, especially during the Holidays, but choosing what to put on your plate can be an important choice. Instead of going for a second helping of mashed potatoes or corn bread, stick to protein and vegetables. It greatly limits the amount of calories but also give your body extra nutrients, all while making you feel pleasantly full. Also, avoid second helpings of desserts. One cookie and one piece of pie is better than two pieces of pie, not to mention you get to experience two different delicious sweet flavors.
5. Take your time!!!!!
It’s a known fact that the slower you eat the healthier you’ll be. Eating quickly, as most of us tend to do, makes us consume too many calories too quickly. This Thanksgiving, take some time to ENJOY conversation with you family during meals. There’s no reason to rush! Plus, enjoying the taste of your Aunt’s famous garlic mashed potatoes is a lot more satisfying when you take the TIME to enjoy it. Why not catch up with your cousin while you eat that turkey instead of after you finished it?
6. The Dessert Rule
It’s dessert time everyone! Cookies, brownies, pies….PUMPKIN pies. Yeah we all know you're excited for that. One thing to remember though when it comes to desserts, is moderation. It’s okay to make exceptions on holidays and have more than one dessert, choosing desserts in variety instead of seconds can really help you not go over-board. As I stated above, try to have two different kinds of cookies instead of two pieces of the same pie. If you wanna sample more than one dessert, try cutting the portion size in half! Half a piece of lemon meringue pie and half a piece of pumpkin equals one piece of pie anyway, but double the flavor!
7. Listen to your body
How are you feeling? The best way to avoid over-eating is to constantly keep track of how you are feeling. Are you pleasantly full? Keeping up with your body hunger signals is important when trying to stay health conscious during Thanksgiving. Take time to check up on how you really feel from time to time, not what your eyes want you to consume.
8. As Passion Pit once said: Take a Walk
So thanksgiving dinner and dessert have concluded, and everyone is feeling a little lethargic. However, DON’T GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION. Why not bundle up and go for a walk with a loved one? Even taking a leisurely and relaxed fall walk can help speed up the digestion process more so than crashing on the couch. Enjoy the fresh air and last of the fall leaves before they are all gone!
I hope these tips and tricks will help some of you have a great, health conscious Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble (yeah, I said it)! HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!!!!