9 Easy Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner
- Wednesday, 18 November 2009
At first glance, the idea of healthy eating and Thanksgiving may seem incompatible—I have certainly experienced "food comas" that chained me to the couch for the rest of the evening. However, with a few substitutions and changes in the Thanksgiving routine you can make this holiday season just as festive, but healthier for all family members involved.
Drink Water Through Out the Day
The holidays might make you forget about the most basic need of your body: hydration. Be sure to sip water through out the day to stay hydrated. Be aware that drinking fluids during meals can hinder digestion, so try to limit your fluids to approximately 4 oz of room temperature water while eating, explains Lisa Tsakos, Naturally Savvy's Chief Nutritionist.
Load Up On Cranberries, Not Sugar
These little red berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels in berries, and their bright anthocyanin pigments may also act as antioxidants. For a healthier cranberry sauce, substitute water by adding a cup of orange juice and a cup of honey instead of sugar.
Switch to Sea Salt (And Use Less of It)
The white table salt commonly used at home is the result of many refining processes that leaves us with "dead salt" laden with chemical additives. You can add more healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium to your diet instantly by making the switch to sea salt.
Think Olive Oil, Not Butter
Need to grease up the turkey? Go for olive oil instead of butter. You can cut down on the trans and saturated fat content by switching to olive oil—which is rich in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. You can also drizzle olive oil onto salads instead of using a cream-based dressing.
Skip the Turkey Skin
If you are eating turkey, be choosy about what parts you consume. A single serving of white, skinless turkey (about a size of a deck of cards) has about 160 calories and 4 grams of fat, whereas dark turkey breast meat with skin contains twice the amount of fat and 70 more calories.
Stick to Whole Grains
Scientists have found that a diet consisting mainly of whole grains can help lower blood pressure and may help with weight control. Whole grains may also help decrease the risk of heart disease. Yet more than 40 percent of Americans do not consume any whole grains in their diet, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Instead of loading up on white breads and rice, opt for whole-grain products such as brown or wild rice and whole wheat bread.
Don't Forget Your Greens
You may be excited about the turkey, potatoes and gravy, but don't forget to have some fresh, colorful salads on the table. In general, Americans consume less vegetables than the recommended five servings per day, so give your family the option of a fresh salad with at least three colors (orange, green and red) for an abundant dose of antioxidants and vitamins.
Ditch the Dairy Dessert
Ice cream may seem like a necessary companion to pumpkin pie, but it might not be the best option after an already decadent feast. According to FDA's standards, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent (mostly milk) fat content. Eliminate the fat and cholesterol in your dessert by switching to soy ice cream. For a certified organic and guilt-free dessert, check out Organic Soy Delicious, a soy ice cream line from Turtle Mountain which boasts 10 flavors, including classics like Neapolitan, Creamy Vanilla, Dulce de Leche and Mint Marble Fudge.
Listen To Your Stomach
Finally, a simple but effective rule of thumb for festive eating: know when your stomach is full. When your brain starts justifying eating one more bite because it "tastes so good," it's time to put the fork down.