It’s inevitable. Whenever talking about a healthier Thanksgiving, there will be times that we all think, “Don’t Mess With My _____”, insert name of favorite Thanksgiving dish. There may be certain recipes that are not to be messed with. But perhaps you can reconsider those thoughts. What if you are able to make the family treasure even better by adding a little spice, or a little twist? And so what if that makes it healthier in the process? If you are open to it, I bet you can find one or two recipes that you are able to modify to be tastier and healthier.
I am also certain that you can find one or two new super-duper vegetable dishes to add to your usual collection of primarily starchy sides that will help balance out Thanksgiving dinner. I am certain you can do this because this week I’ll show you how with recipes for:
- Garlic Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Honey Glazed Carrots with Cinnamon and Pecans
- Spinach Salad with Apples, Fennel, Cherries and Walnuts
- Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce that does not have any added sugar (yes, it can be done!)
Delicious!! So colorful and beautiful. With these additional vegetable dishes your plate will be colorful, complete and balanced. Still there will be naysayers, here are my responses below.
But Thanksgiving is meant to be a day of eating!
If you believe that, own it. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Please don’t feel guilty afterwards. If you are currently working toward weight loss, and you plan on eating like you’ll never eat again, please don’t expect to lose weight the week of Thanksgiving. Simply reconsider your goal and set a more realistic target of weight maintenance.
But Thanksgiving is ONE DAY! Does it really make any difference?
It does make a difference if your body is sensitive to massive fluctuations in metabolism and hormones. If so, try to spread dinner out over a couple of meals. Thanksgiving is often very carb-heavy, so pay attention to the balance of your plate and be sure to fill it with plenty of non-starchy veggies and high-protein turkey to lessen the impact of the potatoes, corn, bread, and stuffing. Take very small portions of each starchy side-dish, or consider plating one or two starches for leftovers rather than tasting them all at one meal. Your metabolism and hormonal system will remain in better balance when your favorites are consumed over a few meals instead of all in one.
Making healthier choices absolutely matters when Thanksgiving kicks off an eating-fest that lasts until a remorseful New Year’s Day. By making a few great choices for your awesome body, you will nourish yourself and keep your mind focused on what’s most important to you. And that kind of thinking will keep you moving closer to your goals throughout the holiday season.
If you are able to over indulge on Thanksgiving and then wake up the next day and go about your business of healthy eating and exercising, then one day really doesn’t make any difference at all.
Really? That’s all that Thanksgiving means to you? Perhaps it’s time to create some new traditions! Start a family game of football, go for a hike in Sabino Canyon, or sign everyone up for the Turkey Trot at Reid Park–you get to play with hay bails and enjoy a crisp cool morning. Do something crafty, like a Thanksgiving scrapbook or make napkin rings. Start something that takes some of the pressure off of the food.
I agree that food is THE thing on Thanksgiving, but if the food is the only thing bringing us joy, then we are sure to overeat and crave highly indulgent foods. Spread the love around a little bit. Start by appreciating yourself and all your awesomeness, which will help you better appreciate all the fantastic people that surround you on Thanksgiving Day.
You still have a little bit of time to refine your Thanksgiving dinner wish list. Stay tuned for some great vegetable dishes that bring beautiful colors, flavors and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory power to your plate.
Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.