Thanksgiving is a time we all look forward to indulging in our favorite foods while surrounded by friends and family. However, what was supposed to be just one dinner can easily turn into a week-long eating spree of unhealthy leftovers. And if you're someone who wants to focus on healthy eating, Thanksgiving can be a real challenge. But don't worry, choosing healthy options for Thanksgiving dinner doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a delicious holiday meal. To help you out this year, we've compiled eight tips for a healthy Thanksgiving, so you can feast on leftovers guilt-free.
1. Choose Lean Meats
One way you can have a healthy and nutritious Thanksgiving is to choose lean protein options. Choosing white turkey meat over dark meat can make all the difference in serving a healthy dish this holiday. Dark meat contains more fat than white meat, so you'll be saving calories with each bite. White meat is also a good source of nutrients like selenium, zinc, and niacin, which support a healthy immune system. White turkey meat is found in the breast, while dark meat is located in the thigh and drumstick. So, when choosing your turkey slices, be sure to pick up the white meat pieces to make your turkey day meal a bit healthier.
2. Serve Mindful Portions
Something to keep in mind this Thanksgiving is your portion size. You may find it more beneficial to serve smaller portions of food and save the leftovers for later. As tempting as it is to indulge in a large meal on a festive day, you could end up feeling uncomfortably full and eating more than you intended. A good way to avoid overeating is to not skip meals throughout the day. Some people choose to wait until the big meal to eat, however, this is an unhealthy option that can not only deprive your body of the necessary fuel but will likely lead to binge eating once you get to the dinner table. Instead, make sure you have a healthy breakfast in the morning, and eat meals like you normally would throughout the day. This way, you won't feel so hungry that you overeat at dinner, and you can enjoy leftovers all week!
3. Fill Up On Fiber
One way to boost the nutritional value of your Thanksgiving dinner is to focus on eating foods that are rich in fiber and whole grains. Both of these nutrients are essential for good health, and they can help to regulate digestion and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and beans are not only healthy, but they can help to fill you up and prevent overeating. Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are also packed with nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. Incorporating both of these food groups into your Thanksgiving dinner will help to make it more nutritious and enjoyable.
4. Get Your Fruits And Veggies In
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, make sure you get your fruits and vegetables in. A fruit salad is a great way to start the meal and it can be made with a variety of fruits. There are also many ways to incorporate vegetables into the holiday festivities. For example, green beans are a classic Thanksgiving side dish; you could even try a healthy green bean casserole recipe. You can also try roasting vegetables such as Brussels sprouts or sweet potatoes. By including fresh fruits and vegetables on your Thanksgiving table, you'll be sure to please everyone's taste buds and their nutritional needs.
5. Use Healthy Cooking Methods
This Thanksgiving, try stuffing your turkey with aromatic herbs, such as sage, thyme, and rosemary. Not only will your house smell amazing, but you'll also add important antioxidants and minerals to your meal. When it comes to cooking your turkey, make sure you choose healthier cooking methods such as baking, grilling, or roasting instead of frying. These methods will help reduce the amount of fat and calories in your dish without sacrificing flavor. By making small changes to your Thanksgiving feast, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious holiday meal that the whole family will love.
6. Limit Your Condiments
While it's tempting to load up your Thanksgiving plate with all the deliciousness that comes with the holiday, one way to have a healthier meal is to limit your condiments. That means no piling whipped cream on your desserts or putting too much sugar in your coffee. Consider using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and choose cranberry sauce that is lower in sugar. When it comes to pumpkin pie, try to choose a version that is made with skim milk and less sugar. Finally, gravy can be high in fat, so use it sparingly. By making these small changes, you can enjoy all the flavors of Thanksgiving without going overboard on the calories.
7. Enjoy A Moderate Amount Of Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are a common sight on the Thanksgiving table, and while enjoying a glass of wine with dinner can be part of a healthy holiday feast, it's important to remember to drink in moderation. Alcoholic beverages can quickly add up in calories, and overindulging can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Moreover, alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients, so it's important to limit your intake if you're looking to enjoy a healthy and nutritious Thanksgiving dinner. Stick to one or two drinks and make sure to include plenty of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables on your plate. By following these tips, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious Thanksgiving feast that's good for your body.
If you are struggling to stay healthy this Thanksgiving, you are not alone. At Premier Medical Associates, our registered dietician can provide support for a variety of health needs. Whether you need assistance in your weight loss journey or maintenance for diabetes, our nutrition services can help. Schedule an appointment with our registered dietitian today so you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle all year long.
Premier Medical Associates is an affiliate of the Allegheny Health Network and is the largest multi-specialty physician practice in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Our highly experienced care team provides services like nutrition and primary care for you and your loved one’s needs. If you would like more information, please follow up with your primary care physician.