Healthy Thanksgiving Favorites

It is the time of year ... Thanksgiving is THIS week. Can you believe it?! I know I kept having to look at the calendar twice because I couldn't believe that we are already starting the holiday season. 

I came across the article and I thought it was hilarious in the New York Post. I felt like I could relate to this, because I always feel like people think I am just slap their favorite foods out of their hand. That is not the case. I love delicious food and I don't want to be known as a "health freak who is ruining Thanksgiving."  I totally agree with having tempeh instead of turkey if you are doing it because of dietary restrictions (vegetarian or vegan), but if you are doing it because you think there is something magical about tempeh compared with turkey then unfortunately that is not quite true. I love tempeh, but I also enjoy turkey and on this Thanksgiving I am planning on cooking a turkey and serving that at our luncheon. 

Image used from the New York Post Living Article.

Image used from the New York Post Living Article.

Lean protein source - Turkey is a healthy, lean meat. The white, breast meat is particularly lean and has less fat compared with the darker, more fatty meat. But overall turkey is a lean bird and is a healthy protein source. The turkey itself is a great protein item, where the additional calories come from is often what we put on top of the slice of meat. The additional gravy or cranberry sauce is where the additional calories are hiding. Now that doesn't mean you need to eat your turkey without a tasty topping, but work to make sure that you topping it with a moderate serving of gravy. 

Colorful veggies - Thanksgiving just like any other meal where you should be aiming to fill 1/2 your plate with lots of colorful vegetables. There are lots of traditional Thanksgiving foods that can be healthy - sweet potatoes, pumpkins, green beans, and collard greens. One of the easiest way to prepare all of these veggies is to throw them in the oven or in a pan and roast them. Add some salt, pepper and if you want a special kick add some cumin. If you prefer raw veggies, put together a colorful salad and then serve that alongside your turkey and sweet potato casserole. 

Mix in Whole Grains - We all love our bread at our Thanksgiving feast. From the stuffing, to the rolls, to the chicken with noodles. There are lots of sources of grains at Thanksgiving. Why not try to substitute some of those with whole grains. Make whole grain muffins/rolls or add in some whole wheat bread to the stuffing recipe. This is helpful for diabetics and to help with fiber intake. 

Sweet Treats - I really enjoy all of the delicious pies for Thanksgiving. I think that in moderation these can be a great way to celebrate the holiday. I love cutting pies into 12 pieces compared with 8 pieces, because you can enjoy a smaller slice of pie and still enjoy the flavor. Or if you want to sample multiple types of pie, try a 1/12th of a pie and this will equate to 1/8th of a pie if you end up with 2 pieces. There are also ways to make your pie healthier, but more often than not, I find that moderation of your serving size is the most realistic way to stick with following a healthy lifestyle.

Move your feet - There are lots of Thanksgiving Day races available. That is such a fun way to fit in a work out and then enjoy a delicious meal. There are so many races in every town around the country. If you are worried about burning calories and the holidays that is a great way to get more steps in on Thanksgiving.