Thanksgiving Feast or Famine? – Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving
While Thanksgiving may not immediately conjure up thoughts of healthy eating, we invite you to use this day of gratitude as an opportunity to find the middle ground between “feast or famine”. No, we’re not suggesting you pass on your mom’s world renowned stuffing or Aunt Patty’s pumpkin pie. We are, however, encouraging you to create and implement a game plan for expressing your commitment to health – and to yourself – at this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
Where to start? Well, the best place to start is where you are. That is, some of you are farther along in creating healthy eating habits than others, and for you, perhaps passing on pie is not so absurd. For others newly committed to letting “food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, simply consuming one roll instead of four would be a monumental step. Wherever you are in your wellness journey, on a very basic level, minding the two Q’s – quality and quantity – is a great place to focus your attention. In the wise words of Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, “Preparation is power.” Take some time before this great holiday to construct goals and a game plan for success.
A few suggestions to get you moving in the right direction:
-Focus on getting your greens…and reds, oranges, yellows, and blues! Ensure there are plenty of vegetables at the table and fill half your plate with them.
-Skip the marshmallows. Yams are a great source of nutrients including beta carotene and fiber, to name a few, and are naturally sweet. Steamed and mashed with cinnamon is a great way to trade up the nutritional value while keeping the taste. (Extra tip: cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels but adds no calories, so pour it on.)
-Keep tabs on your alcohol. While alcohol may be a part of the holiday for you, it contributes empty calories and lessens inhibition to stick to your plan of minding your two Q’s.
-To minimize overeating, do not arrive to your Thanksgiving feast on an empty stomach!
-Set yourself up for portion control success by keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day, eating a combination of protein, healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates. For example, if your Thanksgiving dinner starts at 3p, start your day with 2 poached eggs, steamed spinach and a slice of Udi’s Gluten Free Millet & Chia toast. Have a quarter cup of mixed nuts and raisins around noon so that you arrive ready to enjoy, but not ravenous.
-Consider what you really just can’t live without and what you eat out of obligation or tradition. Let go of the guilt and leave the unnecessary calories off your plate.
As you stack those delicious leftovers in your fridge, consider some healthy alternatives. Use the turkey in a pot of quinoa chili, on a salad or in a turkey & veggie soft corn tortilla taco.
With the kick off of the holiday season, come many opportunities to begin to shift your health in a meaningful way. While a bit of indulging on this special day of thanks with loved ones is a joy, even small measures to mind your health in the midst of plenty go a long way.
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