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By Rachel Driscoll
November 20, 2019
Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of the holiday season. The holidays are a time of celebrating traditions and reconnecting with family and friends, but they can be an especially challenging few months for anyone trying to improve their diet. The following tips can help you manage your weight and maintain your health while still enjoying your favorite traditions.
1. Get outside. Go for a walk, hike, bicycle ride or sign up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning before the festivities begin.
2. Eat breakfast. Eating a small breakfast on Thanksgiving morning can give you more control of your appetite later in the day. Aim to have a breakfast that is rich in protein and fiber like an egg with a slice of multigrain toast, or a Greek yogurt with a piece of fruit.
3. Make healthy swaps. If you’re hosting the gathering, lighten up the meal by swapping ingredients like low sodium broth instead of regular, plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, and herbs and seasonings instead of salt. If you’re a guest, offer to bring a healthy dish like the recipe listed below.
4. Arrive with a plan. Survey the table and decide what you’re going to choose before you start filling your plate. Rather than denying yourself certain foods, choose the dishes you love and can’t get any other time of year, but be mindful of your portions.
5. Eat slowly. Savor every bite of the meal. Take your time eating and wait at least 20 minutes to determine if you are actually hungry for seconds. You’ll want to leave the dinner table satisfied but not “Thanksgiving full”.
6. Avoid liquid calories. Try to limit your intake of high calorie cocktails, punches and fruit juices, instead opting for water, unsweetened teas or seltzers.
7. Leave the table. Once dinner is over, try to leave the dinner table and bring the party into another room. Put away the leftovers so you can resist the temptation to nibble later in the day.
Are you unsure of what to bring to the gathering? Try a Roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts salad. This colorful, veggie-packed recipe incorporates shallots, roasted butternut squash, shredded Brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. It features traditional autumn flavors and utilizes the season’s best produce. Incorporating more fiber-rich vegetables into your Thanksgiving dinner will help fill you up without loading you up with calories. Visit the link below for a great recipe for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
The Bristol Health Outpatient Nutrition Center offers nutrition counseling for patients with a variety of chronic illnesses or health concerns. Feel like you need advice about how to improve your food choices at parties or family gatherings this holiday season? Contact our office at 860-940-6741 for more information about how to make an appointment with our registered dietitian.
About the Author
Rachel Driscoll, MS, RD, CD-N, is an outpatient dietitian with Bristol Health.