Monday, November 21, 2011

Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Tips

Hey, healthy people! It's that time of year again: THANKSGIVING!!! My favorite holiday out of the whole year. Time for family, friends, fun and best of all FOOD! Hey, just because I like to keep it healthy doesn't mean I don't like to eat! Lol! And there's no reason why you can't be healthy and have a great Thanksgiving, too! Keep reading to receive some healthy holiday tips which can not only be used for Thanksgiving but throughout the rest of the year. And just in case I don't get a chance to tell you:


Here are some of nutrition tips to help you enjoy the day without worrying about your waistline:
  1. Turkey is the centerpiece of the meal, and very healthy, being high in protein, B vitamins and iron. If you can, try to stay away from the dark meat, which is over 1/3 higher in fat and calories than white meat.
  2. Don't starve all day in order to stuff in the evening. Eat regularly throughout the day. Try to have some healthy snacks in the afternoon (try vegetables, crackers, or whole grain breads with a light dip). Consider having a vegetable salad, some type of broth soup or other snack an hour or so before dinner to take the edge off of your appetite.
  3. Plan something family related post dinner that includes physical movement. A walk with family or friends, ice skating, or a neighborhood stroll. Anything that will help you digest your meal comfortably and burn calories will make a difference.
  4. Eat your favorite things first, and start with a portion somewhat smaller than your eyes tell you they want. Have a glass of water in between courses. Get up and clear dishes. Talk. Just interrupt your eating pattern. You can always help yourself to another serving if you like.
  5. Be conscious of how you are eating. If you really want extra portions of a dish or dessert, have them. Just stop and make a choice before going for it. Sometimes if you wait 3-5 minutes before eating again, you will realize that you are full.
  6. Relax and eat slowly. You can devour a huge meal in 10-15 minutes but your brain doesn't get the "I'm full" message until 15 to 20 minutes. Take some time and talk to some family/friends between courses. You can always go back for seconds.
  7. Maybe, like me, you can't do without mashed potatoes. The best with gravy are loaded with fat and calories. Start with a small serving, and add your own gravy by hand, don't let anyone else portion it out for you.
  8. Yams and sweet potatoes are great sources of Vitamin A and fiber. One yam/sweet potato has about 85 calories and no fat. Candied versions are much higher in calories and fat (145 calories/3 grams of fat). Choose wisely.
  9. Cranberry sauce is fiber rich, and low in fat. Have some. It is also high in sugars so be reasonable.
  10. Drink the equivalent of two large glasses of water 10 minutes before eating.

BONUS Hungry Girl Tips:

If You're Hosting...
  • Keep guilt-free staples on hand. Click here to check out a few Hungry Girl ingredient essentials. 
  • Make sure you don't get SO distracted that you forget to eat during the day. It's easy to get caught up in all the prep work, but remember to sip lots of water and make time for lunch. 
  • Don't give in to the "tradition" of serving a fattening feast. Serve the classics without the calorie overload! You don't have to load up the mashed potatoes with butter and heavy cream or use Grandma's sugar-and-egg-laden pumpkin pie recipe. Check out Hungry Girl's sneaky swaps for holiday favorites -- totally suitable for the dinner table!

If You're a Guest...
  • Don't leave for the party hungry! You'll arrive and immediately start grazing on appetizers and then pounce once the meal is served. Have a snack with protein and drink some water before you head out. 
  • Bring a dish. Check in with the host/hostess ahead of time and find out what you can contribute; then whip up something guilt-free and delicious. Your host will appreciate the help, and you'll know that you have at least one option that you can really indulge in no matter what else is served. 
  • Get a little physical activity earlier in the day. If you're hosting, you'll likely be moving around all day, cooking and getting your home ready for guests. But if you're just attending the party, chances are you have the day off. So take a walk in the a.m., do some yoga... whatever! 

Either Way...
  • Don't go overboard with cocktails. The calories add up! And with a glorious feast ahead, who wants to drink a ton of calories? Plus, if you ingest a lot of alcohol, you'll be more likely to make foolish food decisions later. 
  • A substantial breakfast. A light lunch. Lots of water. A protein-packed snack. What are these? Our recommendations for what to eat and drink before the holiday dinner. Don't do the "I'm saving all my calories for the big meal" thing - it's a bad idea. If you're ravenous and dehydrated at dinnertime, you'll probably overdo it. 
  • Survey before you serve. Check out your options, and consider what's worth splurging on. Then fill your plate with lean meat (turkey breast) and veggies (ones that aren't loaded with cream sauce or butter) before you tackle the decadent stuff. Salad and broth-based soups are excellent starters, too. 
  • Eat your favorites! It is a special occasion, so don't deprive yourself! Just don't go crazy with the amounts. Once you have a good base of lighter stuff in front of you, add small servings of the seasonal goodies you love. Dig stuffing? Grab a scoop. Mashed potatoes? Add a dollop to your plate. And when it comes to dessert, have a small portion of your favorite with a cup of tea or coffee.