A Few Tips for Eating Healthier This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. A holiday filled with family, friends, good food and gratitude. Just because the food is good, doesn’t mean its necessarily healthy. In turn, just because the food isn’t healthy doesn’t mean you can’t indulge…a little.

Here are a few tips to help guide you in the direction of not only eating healthier on Thanksgiving but also living healthier on Thanksgiving and beyond.

Eat small amounts of nutritious food through-out the day.

How many times have you heard someone say on Thanksgiving that they are ‘saving their appetite’ for the big meal? This may sound like a good idea and seem to make sense. On the contrary when you don’t eat for a long period of time and then fill up with one big meal, it is very hard on your bodies metabolic system and will negatively affect the way your body processes the sugar and fat you just consumed. Also, by eating a small nutritious meal earlier in the day, something that contains fiber and protein, it will help to curb your appetite a bit and you will be better able to make healthier choices later in the day when choosing what to put on your Thanksgiving plate.

If your hosting the Thanksgiving meal, this tip is for you! Even if you are not hosting, you can certainly offer to bring a dish. Make something that is unique, flavorful and a healthier alternative to how the dish is traditionally prepared. Think less sugar, less fat and less calories! This is especially easy to do with recipes that call for a lot of ingredients that contain high amounts of fat and sugar. No one will notice if you use less of some ingredients like dairy like butter or cream, sugar, etc. Even if they did, it would be a slight taste difference, not worse… just different, which can

be a very good thing! Some healthier options include: using sugar substitutes in place of sugar and using fruit purees instead of oils in some baked goods. If you are in charge of the turkey/gravy you can opt for a fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and prepare the gravy. If you are making a dish that calls for sour cream or involves making a creamy dip, try fat-free sour cream, a tasty alternative to its fattier counterpart. And lastly, another useful suggestion is to simply lessen butter and oil usage wherever possible. We all know of that casserole that is so tasty, but calls for 1-2 sticks of butter, lower that amount to half (you’ll thank yourself later on).

What’s on your plate?

Portion control is an important aspect of eating healthy, but what you’re eating is the most important. You could pick all of the ‘unhealthy’ choices and just take smaller portions and think that will be good enough. Although the amount you eat is important it’s not really enough to solely make an impact on your health. Before filling your plate, survey the table and see what your choices are, after you choose, remember to slowly savor each bite. Opt to fill almost half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as: asparagus, brussels sprouts, peppers, beets and more. Next item to fill up on is some delicious skinless turkey breast! Turkey is packed with protein and is a great choice as long as you are eating skinless white meat. The protein in turkey will keep you fuller longer, which my help you choose better portion sizes later on. Healthy portion sizes in combination with savoring every bite contributes to you being less likely to go back to the table for seconds, or even thirds! Save room for those delicious Thanksgiving desserts.

A Holiday Celebration

This time of year, is a time of great joy, a time to spend with family and friends. And although it can feel stressful at times, it does not have to be a time of stress. Don’t allow your diet and weight to become a source of negative feelings. We suggest that over the holidays, do not try to lose weight, or set unrealistic expectations on yourself. Instead, just try to maintain your current weight. After the holidays have passed you can start to focus more on getting into better shape. Being and eating healthy is a lifestyle choice that has to be implemented on a daily basis for the long haul, not something you pick up and put down and then wonder why you don’t have the desired results you’re after.

A time for Family

Let us remember the best part of the holidays, which is seeing and spending time with the people that are dearest to us. The holidays are a wonderful time of year where we are able to see family and close friends that we haven’t seen a while. In fact, some people only see specific family members on the actual holidays. Let us all cherish these moments more than we cherish what is on the table. If you ever have any questions about making a change to a healthier lifestyle, one of our physicians would be more than happy to assist you!

All of the doctors and staff here at Suntree Internal Medicine of Melbourne are wishing you and your family a healthy Thanksgiving Day.