Can I splurge on Thanksgiving and not gain weight?

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Yes you can. In fact, Thanksgiving offers a host of foods that are tasty and healthy. Cooking shows and magazines also offer lots of ways to replace some of the unhealthy fat, use less sugar and salt, and still create a magnificent holiday spread. Of course, there are also some general guidelines you can follow to help you and family members enjoy the feast while still adhering to basic healthy eating principles.


    First make sure to include all the "good for you foods" like sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries, turkey, whole grain-based stuffing and side dishes.


    Lose the turkey skin and if you can, refrigerate the gravy so you can skim off the fat that rises.

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    Offer shrimp cocktails (plain red sauce as the dip), crudités and hummus or bean dips and seltzer spritzers before the meal so people fill up a bit on healthy fare.


    Have people get up to make their plates and only put salad, vegetables and fruit family-style on the table


    Use cooking sprays, low sodium vegetable broth or stock, fruit purees in recipes to lower fat


    Lose some of the yolks when adding eggs to recipes


    Make fruit the center of dessert


    Use skim milk and Splenda in your "healthier pumpkin pie" version


    Use the new MyPlate guide to fill your plate - ¼ protein, ¼ carb side dishes, ½ fruits and veggies


    Consider using smaller plates and glasses


    Don't pile your plate high - you can always get seconds, but allow yourself time to "feel full"


    Search online for lighter recipes


    Do not choose to "not eat" all day, in order to justify a food binge. One single heavy meal can instigate health issues in susceptible people, and certainly cause your body to, at minimum, experience unhealthy generalized circulatory inflammation post meal


    Only re-purpose healthier leftovers like skin free turkey and salads and vegetables. Give the rest of the leftovers away, especially desserts and high fat side dishes.


    Take a walk or simply a break in between the main meal and dessert.


    I say it every year - Make the holiday about getting together, sharing old memories, and creating new memories. The food is important and showcasing your cooking talents is certainly part of the joy- just don't make it define the day!!

    Have a "healthy, tasty recipe" that you want to share??

Published On: November 21, 2011