Monday, November 21, 2011

Healthy Dining at Thanksgiving

Written by Laura McGehee, Marketing Intern

The holiday season is a time for celebrating, remembering, and sharing.  While the events, socializing, and goodies make for a great time, our waistlines may not be happy with our decisions.  Here are some helpful tips when deciding what to pack on your plate this Thanksgiving to avoid packing on the pounds!
            Thanksgiving is all about hearty meals with rich ingredients and major portions.  From cream-based dressings, to sugar-filled desserts, choosing the best option is sometimes a battle of “which worse is worse?”

·         Stop stressing! Family may be coming in from all over and you have a million things to prepare, but guess what? Everything WILL get finished (or done if we are speaking of turkeys).
·         Start your Thanksgiving with a big salad. You will be getting delicious greens and shaving calories off of your future meal.
·         Choose the foods most important to you and don’t waste precious calories on grandma’s cranberry sauce you barely enjoy or on rolls that may have been in the oven a little too long.
·         Help in the preparation of dishes or bring a healthy version of your favorite side item or dessert.  By being involved in preparing the food, you not only get to spend time with family and friends, but you can influence and monitor unhealthy ingredient choices.
·         You are not the turkey- you do not need to be stuffed. Eat until you feel full.  Drink a glass of water, socialize for a while, and then decide if you need a second helping.
·         Pay attention to portion sizes.  A serving size of mashed potatoes is ½ a cup or the size of your fist. A serving of pie should be 1/8th of the pie- many pies are only cut into 4-6 pieces!
·         Track your food- if you are writing down what you are eating you will be less likely to grab that second, third, or fourth helping.
·         Holiday drinks pack on the pounds just as quickly as the food. Stick to water as much as possible and monitor juices, sodas, and alcohol.
·         Slow down! It’s not a race, so enjoy every bite.
·         Add a little extra cardio to your day.  Want to have that piece of pecan pie? Check out how long it would take to burn it off and you may think twice about going for the biggest piece.
·         When determining which leftovers to take home, choose foods you know you won’t crash your healthy eating.  If you could eat a whole pumpkin pie, forget about taking it home.
·         Leftovers can be made into very healthy options.  Turkey, sweet potatoes, and vegetables create a very balanced meal and there are many healthy recipes that include these foods.

The best advice to remember during the holidays is that you are there to celebrate the people.  Eat well, enjoy the atmosphere, and don’t sacrifice your health!

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