How to Be Mindful on Thanksgiving
By Brittany Kelley, R.D.
Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year because it doesnít involve spending any money on gifts, but rather just sitting down with family and enjoying a nice warm meal. What could be better than that? Nonetheless, some of the choices we make on Thanksgiving tend to be a little more calorically dense than others, which might leave us feeling a little too full of thanks. To help prevent that, here are some tips on how to eat a little more healthy this year on Turkey Day.
- Plan ahead- If you arenít doing the cooking and are going to a friendís or relativeís for the main meal, ask what theyíre making and be prepared ahead of time for what food choices you plan to make. If stuffing is your favorite thanksgiving food (it is definitely mine) try to also add some greens and protein to the portion of stuffing you have to help balance the meal more.
- Take advantage of the Turkey- Unless you are vegetarian or vegan, turkey is traditionally the main food at Thanksgiving. Luckily, turkey is actually a great source of lean protein. So rather than fill up on the starches like mashed potatoes or yams, bulk up your plate with more of the meat to help cut down on the excess carbohydrates. Remember that a healthy plate is ľstarches, Ĺ vegetables, and ľ protein.
- Drink water and eat before the meal- One of the biggest mistakes we make with the holidays is that we tend to wait all day long for the main entree and avoid eating beforehand to save room for whatís to come. Unfortunately, this leads to overeating in most cases and can leave us feeling sluggish and tired afterwards. Definitely make sure to eat a light meal or snack and drink plenty of water before the main meal this year to prevent you from feeling ravenous. This way you will eat far less when dinner comes.
- Workout before eating! Getting in some good exercise before eating a large meal can make a world of a difference. There are usually a lot of Turkey Trot style races in local towns on Thanksgiving day, so sign on up! A nice run will help even out the calorie intake for the day, and will also make you feel a lot better about yourself! If you canít make time before the meal, take a nice 30 minute walk with family or friends after eating- itís a great way to spend some quality time together!
- Bring your own dish! If you arenít confident that the food you will be having is on the healthy side, being something of your own like a roasted veggie dish; my favorite is a combination of baked brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, shallots, and cauliflower with balsamic glaze, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Also, Celeriac is a root vegetable than can be a great substitute for mashed potatoes- they taste almost exactly the same but half Ĺ the amount of carbohydrates!
- Enjoy yourself! I cannot stress this enough. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is based around giving thanks food! So enjoy it! No Dietitian will tell you there are food rules and certainly not on this particular day. Donít go over the top feeling like you canít have the food that you want to. Of course you can! Thatís what this day is about. Remember to always be mindful but of course enjoy yourself and if you do over indulge hit the gym the next day and work some of it off!