Does Your Thanksgiving Dinner Need a Healthover?

By: Leslie J. Bonci, R.D.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. HealthyThanksgiving. Yeah right. Impossible.
Not so fast. I don’t think you have to give up all the holiday culinary delights, but you don’t have to eat to explode either.
So here are some thoughts to getting through Thanksgiving without waddling:
  • Be choosy. Chances are you don’t have stuffing or sweet potatoes every day, so how about foregoing the roll or the chips and dip before your meal?
  • Sit and savor. This means taking the time to cut your food, chew, and swallow instead of shoveling it in.
  • Think about the plate. You don’t have to have a trough. Try little tastes of everything rather than heaping mounds.
  • Instead of “left-overs” think about “ enjoy-again.” Double the pleasure by having a meal to look forward to rather than eating until bursting.
  • Color the plate. The typical Thanksgiving plate is tan, white, maybe some orange. So how about adding some green vegetables, or red as in cut up fruit. Try adding some fruit to your stuffing, or even pineapple added to sweet potatoes to sweeten instead of marshmallows?
  • Think about the take-aways as well as the add-ins – or perhaps even a swap. If you really want the pumpkin pie, maybe you can have a smaller serving of stuffing , or don’t drown the turkey or mashed potatoes in gravy.
  • How about a break between the meal and dessert. Get up, get out, and get going. Take a family walk to digest, and create some room before you sit down to dessert.
  • Tweak recipes slightly. Add plain Greek yogurt to mashed potatoes to provide the creaminess without the fat. In addition to the diced, drained pineapple mentioned earlier, try substituting for the not-so-good stuff in those sweet potatoes with some cinnamon and ginger. Use broth to baste the stuffing instead of the drippings. Roast zucchini, carrots, peppers and mushrooms with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of a butter-laden casserole. Try a little orange juice, grated orange rind and a little sugar to sweeten fresh cranberries instead of a high sugar sauce or cranberry gel. Use evaporated skimmed milk instead of cream in your pumpkin pie – no one will know, and consider crushed ginger snaps instead of a pastry crust.
And remember this is a time to give, to share and to care.
Now THAT is worth being thankful for!