A Few Ways to Healthify Your Holiday
Thanksgiving is a holiday definitely known as a day of indulgence, but it’s not good to stuff our stomach the way we stuff our turkey. Follow these simple steps to improve your health this Thanksgiving day incorporating foods you will already have on the table.
Most people spend part of their day snacking with friends and family members while waiting for the big meal. If you fall into that category, be sure to set out or bring a vegetable platter complete with freshly sliced finger foods that you can dip into some seasoned Greek yogurt or some spicy hummus. Fruit kebabs are a nice addition and provide color and variety to your spread. Before you fill your plate with turkey, potatoes, and all the fixings, fill up on a bowl of salad. Crisp romaine lettuce, crunchy cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes are not only tasty, but provide water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all helpful in filling you up without a lot of calories. Allow a few minutes for your salad to settle. Our brain needs some time to know that we are not starving and you won’t be tempted to fill your plate with too much food once the turkey is carved.
Speaking of turkey, go for the light meat. It is a leaner option and a 4 ounce serving of breast meat provides 170 calories, 34 grams of protein, and less than 3 grams of fat. The same size serving of dark meat (including some skin) has over 200 calories, 30 grams of protein, and over 10 grams of fat, much of which is saturated. Turkey breast is a great source of protein and studies show that lean protein has staying power- it keeps us feeling full, affecting our appetite so we eat less. That is very important on a day when most Americans consume upwards of 5,000 calories. Enjoy your turkey as is, or if using gravy, use in moderation. This condiment can be high in fat and sodium, depending on preparation or brand. For an even better topping, use some fresh cranberry sauce. This seasonal berry packs a nutrient and tasty punch! They are high in antioxidants that fight free radicals, compounds known to cause damage to our cells. Other health benefits include reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, different cancers, and they also aid in digestion. Check out the recipe below for a delicious way to enjoy this fresh berry- it’s much better than jelly from a can!
Hold the sugar on the sweet potatoes! This Thanksgiving day tuber is healthy on it’s own, but so many traditional holiday recipes include sugar or syrup, turning a great side dish into sugary mush. Besides the fact that they are naturally delicious and already slightly sweet, here are four more reasons to enjoy some lightly seasoned sweet potatoes this holiday season:
Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate. The fiber in this type of carbohydrate slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Vitamin A: just one half of a medium sweet potato provides all your Vitamin A needs for the day. Not only is this good for the eyes, but considering most Americans do not get enough of it, now is a good time to get some, not only on Thanksgiving day, but every day! Potassium: another nutrient lacking in the American diet. It helps muscles contract and communicate with nerves – just what you will need to take that post feast walk! And all things considered, sweet potatoes, like most other vegetables, are naturally low in fat.
So, to recap. Fill up on veggies, lean and light turkey breast topped with bright red fresh cranberry sauce, and sugar free naturally sweet potatoes! There will be other foods around your holiday table, but practice moderation, take a walk, and most importantly, enjoy time spent with friends and family!
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
1/2 cup of water
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup stevia and sugar blend
Zest of one orange
1/4 tbsp French ginger, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
Bring water, orange juice, and stevia mix to a boil.
Add cranberries, ginger, and thyme and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens.
When desired consistency has been achieved, remove thyme and add orange zest.
Stir well and enjoy.