Thanksgiving is slowly approaching like an upcoming birthday ending in ‘0’ that you both dread and anticipating – especially if you are on a diet. Your mouth is watering at all of the delicious food that you know will be available, but you are dreading the overeating, the guilt and the lethargic near-coma you will experience afterward.
Every year, most Americans gain weight during the Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season and almost none of them are able to lose it afterward. It is permanent and after a few years, it can pile up in one unsightly place – like your hips, your thighs, your derriere or your gut. But the big turkey holiday doesn’t have to be cause for alarm. You can celebrate Thanksgiving and all the holidays, and have a good hearty meal with your family, without the weight gain or the extra helping of guilt. You just have to make better choices during preparation. Here are some great tips for Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season that are real, natural replacement foods that will help you enjoy the holiday without gaining weight.
Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving without Ruining Your Diet:
Reduce the Sugar
One of the things that you will notice about Thanksgiving recipes is how much sugar they contain. Sugar is a staple in everything from pumpkin pie to candied yams and there is no reason for them to contain that much sugar. In fact, there is so much excess that you probably won’t even notice a slight reduction in sugar and it could mean a big reduction in calories. If you need to use sweetener try organic maple syrup or raw honey that is so much healthier than processed sugar and gives your food a wonderful new taste.
Eat More White Meat
Believe it or not, the traditional Thanksgiving foods are going to be the best choice if you want to stick to your diet this holiday. If you decide to bake a turkey, try to stick to the white meat. The reason is simple – white meat contains less fat than dark meat. Of course, white meat does tend to have disadvantages as well, such as not having as much protein as dark meat and drying out a little faster. But the most important thing to remember is that you need to remove the skin before eating. The skin is the biggest problem when it comes to turkey meat. You need the skin to cook the turkey, because it retains moisture, but you might want before to remove it before eating.
Just like turkey, vegetables are traditionally a part of Thanksgiving Day, but the veggies should be plain without any unnecessary flavoring, butter or oil. Plain veggies are extremely healthy, and you can choose from fresh, canned or frozen for your T-day celebration. You can also go with sweet potatoes if you roast them by rubbing organic coconut oil on the skin, it will keep them moist and make them tastier, and skip the candied part or try putting. This might not go over well with some of your quests but it will be a huge help to your diet. Mashed potatoes are also a perfectly healthy part of a meal, as long as you serve them with no-fat gravy made from your own broth.
Replace the Rolls & Butter
Another thing that you can do that will make a huge difference in your holiday meal is to replace the traditional white rolls slathered in butter and jam with a substitute. We won’t try to convince you that butter substitutes are just as delicious as butter or margarine, but they aren’t actually too bad and they are incredibly healthy when compared with margarine. Instead of white rolls and margarine, go with whole wheat rolls and replace the plastic tub with something like real natural peanut butter, organic Greek yogurt. organic coconut butter, or organic applesauce. Since you’ve got a fall theme going already you can even sub pumpkin puree or organic pumpkin butter (check out recipe) for that diet-destroying butter or margarine.
Skip the Blueberry, Eat the Pumpkin Pie
Yes, you heard right. You have permission to eat pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving holiday – in moderation of course. Just try to skip the other pies. If no one is bringing pumpkin pies than make one for yourself and skip the blueberry, cherry and apple pies that everyone else will be eating. Pumpkin pies are generally less sugar, lower in fat and fewer calories, and quite a bit healthier than their fruit-based cousins. Guess what else? You can substitute the processed chemically laden commercial whipped cream from the can or the frozen cool whip in the plastic tub for a healthier version – real coconut whipped cream (check out recipe) it taste wonderful and your guests will love it.
Choose the Right Casserole
So, you have casseroles piled up like a cornucopia of Thanksgiving goodness, but which one do you choose? At least two are probably going to be sweet potato casseroles and green bean casserole. They are both so delicious, but which one do you choose? That’s an easy choice: green bean casserole. Because the green beans are already so healthy, even adding the ingredients to make a casserole doesn’t cause too much damage to your diet. A ¾ cup serving of green bean casserole is just 115 calories compared to 285 calories for a ¾ cup serving of sweet potato casserole.
Skip the Bread Stuffing, Go With Rice Stuffing Instead
When it comes down to it, bread stuffing is probably the number one thing that you should skip out on this Thanksgiving. A ¾ cup of bread stuffing is nearly 400 calories and 19 grams of fat. This is obviously going to cause damage when it comes to your diet. But if you replace that bread stuffing with rice stuffing instead – any of the thousands of delicious rice stuffing recipes out there – you will be able to save big on calories and fat.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that you can find replacements for just about any of the problem foods on Thanksgiving but it all starts with knowing what those foods are. It is also surprising to many people that most of the traditional foods are okay to eat on Thanksgiving. What this does, is alleviate some of the guilt dieters feel on Thanksgiving – and that guilt is often the cause of more overeating. So, make your Thanksgiving diet friendly this year and stop feeling guilty about enjoying a holiday.
Have a Healthy, Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your Family’s. Please don’t forget what this day is about – being thankful? Remember to count your blessings and be thankful for what you have and to say a prayer for all those that don’t have families or friends to celebrate or are homeless and don’t have the many luxuries that we take might take for granted!