Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays of the year. Incredible food, quality time with family and the opportunity to express gratitude for everything we are thankful for.
It's also a time when most of us over indulge and sabotage our weight loss efforts. I know temptation is hard to resist but I promise you there is a way in which you can still enjoy the holidays without having to bust out the stretchy pants.
The average American (and it rings true for Canadians) will consume 4,500 calories at Thanksgiving, according to new research from the Calorie Control Council. That's 3 days worth of calories in 1 afternoon. I believe enjoying food on special occasions is an important part of life but there is no need for complete gluttony which could take days to recover from, not to mention the hit our self confidence takes after the fact.
Here are some helpful tips and recipes to keep your Thanksgiving dinner (and you) well&tight.
Choose white meat only and avoid the skin and fatty dark meat near the bones. Measure a portion that's the size of your palm (double that for males) and remind yourself that this 4 ounce piece of meat already satisfies half your protein needs for the day.
Most cranberry sauce recipes call for more sugar than cranberries. As long as you make your own, (opt for recipes that call for very little or no sugar like the one listed here) this yummy sauce is a great substitute for fatty gravy and is packed full of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Mashed potatoes are generally full of butter and dairy which make them high in carbs, fat and calories. One of my favourite sides is mashed sweet potatoes which my mom always made for us instead of regular starchy potatoes. Peal, chop and boil 4 sweet potatoes, mash them and add 1 TBS fresh grated ginger and 3 TBS orange juice. Garnish with fresh chives and it'll be a hit among all potato lovers.
Vegetables are a great crowd pleaser and excellent option to fill your plate and still feel like you are indulging in the holidays without the bloat or carb hangover. Try and steam, bake, grill or boil your vegetables instead of roasting them to avoid having them cook in turkey fat. Butternut squash, brussel sprouts, zucchini, carrots and peas are all very festive and satisfying.
Skip the bread, skip the gravy, skip the dark meat...but don't skip the dessert. We all want to feel like we've enjoyed ourselves with a little indulgence during a time of celebration and we should. The trick is to keep your options healthy and the portions small. Try baking a sweet and warm apple and pear crumble or skinny pumpkin pie.