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Making Thanksgiving a bit Healthier

“I’ll have some turkey, please.  But hold the stuffing.” For most, Thanksgiving is treated like a free pass to gorge. But, Thanksgiving does not have to be an excuse to overeat. Thanksgiving can be a relatively healthy holiday, without all the excess butter, gravy, desserts and unnecessary amounts of salt.  It’s easier than most people think to follow a healthy diet and still enjoy your Thanksgiving meal.

Staples at Thanksgiving, like turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce, can actually be healthy without an excess of condiments. For some, the idea of turkey not doused in gravy or potatoes not drowned in butter just doesn’t stimulate their taste buds. It’s important to remember that a little goes along way. When dealing with gravy or butter, taste your food without any of the condiments first, you might actually enjoy the taste. If not, add your extras carefully. Remember: portion control! Keeping your intake of the grease down will help you feel less bloated. Besides, chasing around your little cousins on a stomach filled with fattening gravy and butter will not be much fun. Turkey at Thanksgiving with cranberry sauce, potatoes, and vegetables is a great meal. Colorful vegetables like parsnips and carrots, baked or boiled, can be delicious and wholesome. One thing to remember when filling your plate up Thanksgiving dinner is to keep your plate colorful.

What makes healthy eating at Thanksgiving even more of a challenge are the “munchies” that are eaten while waiting for the turkey to cook. Standing around the kitchen island eating chips and dip will only fill you with empty calories. You don’t want to eat things that aren’t good for your body, especially when your main meal is nutrient rich and better tasting then a bowl of Tostitos. Save yourself and your calories for a good dinner. But the thing is when food is in front of you, you will eat it.

Avoid areas where appetizers are put out, and don’t stay in one place for too long because when you get bored you will end up diving right into the plate of cheese and crackers. Focus on spending time with your family, you’ll have plenty of time to eat when the turkey is on the table.  That protein filled turkey and energizing cranberry sauce with just enough sugar will fill you up. It won’t just do the job to settle your hunger. It will send those nutrients through your body doing what they need to do to keep your body running.

Staying away from butter is one thing, but desserts? That’s a whole new challenge. Chocolate pudding pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, cookies, the possibilities are endless. Your first instinct is to grab one of everything. It’s only natural and what you’ve been doing since you were a little kid. However, the sugar from all these deserts will make you feel sluggish and you’ll only want to go to sleep. You can’t sleep when you have family that wants to be with you. Trying picking one desert. You’ll enjoy it more knowing it’s the only one you get!

The food can be a major distraction from what we are really all gathered together for. The temptation of warm food fresh from the oven is enough to make your mouth water, distract you from any conversation with a family member and making you forget completely how to eat healthy. Being gathered together during the holidays may hinder you from reaching a goal that comes along with a healthy diet or eating clean. You can still stick to your goals, have a great time, and enjoy the foods you are eating. And that’s something to really be thankful for!

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