By Sheena Gregg
As a self-proclaimed foodie, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. However, as a registered dietitian, Thanksgiving can also prove problematic for my clients trying to keep their waistline in check. With a little strategy, Thanksgiving can be both a delicious and nutritious event with friends, family, and football. Here’s a few of my top tips for enjoying your favorite family dishes while staying in check with your health goals.
Don’t Show Up on an Empty Stomach
Though it seems like tradition to “save up your appetite” for the family function, this isn’t always ideal if you’re trying to watch your weight. If your family get together is at lunch time, consider having a light and balanced breakfast to keep your appetite level in check by the time lunch rolls around. Having a small snack or meal a few hours before your gathering can help curb your appetite enough to avoid large portion sizes but also enjoy your holiday favorites in moderate portions.
Eat the Healthiest Foods First
Beware of starting your celebration with mindless munching of refined carbohydrates like chips, crackers, or bread. These foods offer little satisfaction and are typically loaded with calories. Instead, choose to first eat dishes featuring non-starchy veggies to slow down digestion with fewer calories. Protein foods can also be helpful with helping you feel full sooner.
Take Time to Savor Your Meal
If you’re interested in enjoying your holiday favorites in smaller portions, consider eating at a slower pace. It takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to register that you’ve eaten and provide the sensation of fullness. Often times, we eat so quickly that we’ve already got the next bite of food ready to go on our fork before we’ve even swallowed our first bite of food. Consider putting the fork down between each bite or taking a sip of water or other low calorie beverage to create natural pauses during your meal.
Be a Healthy Host or Hostess
Thanksgiving is infamous for casseroles and dishes with multiple mystery ingredients that often involve copious amounts of butter, cream, and salt. If you are a host or hostess wanting to provide healthy options to your guests, variety is key. Instead of having all starch-based sides, consider having colorful salads or other vegetables prepared with heart healthy fats such as olive oil. Fresh fruit salads made with Greek yogurt or sugar-free pudding can offer a sweet alternative for someone trying to watch his or her weight.
No matter the menu, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season can be a great time for catching up with friends and family. It can also be the perfect time to find recipe twists on holiday classics!
Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian and local “Filipino Foodie.” Follow her adventures at www.afilipinofoodie.com
Article sponsored by Bradford Health.
Find them on the web at: https://bradfordhealth.com