Thanksgiving may be America’s Cheat Day, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw all your hard-earned gains out the window when it’s time to talk turkey. Let yourself indulge a little – after all, good food is something to celebrate – but if you’re looking for a little help to #StandStrong this holiday season, check out these healthy alternatives to standard Thanksgiving fare that lose some of the calories and none of the flavor.
TURKEY: skip the dark meat. Turkey is arguably the best part of Thanksgiving, and there’s no reason to cut it out entirely. Instead, just be mindful of what you eat. Rather than indulging in skin-on dark meat, go for white meat without the skin. You get a lot of the flavor while shaving off a considerable amount of calories associated with turkey. You can also cut down calories while keeping the flavor in the preparation stage: instead of rubbing the turkey down with butter, baste it with a fat-free chicken broth or simply use an air-chilled bird. You’ll find the turkey is just as flavorful and juicy.
MASHED POTATOES: not just potatoes anymore. With potatoes, cream, butter and gravy, mashed potatoes are some of the biggest health offenders in the Thanksgiving spread. To make this staple side dish a little healthier, consider substituting a portion of the potatoes with cauliflower, and using naturally creamy potatoes like Yukon gold. You’ll get all the flavor, fewer calories, and more fiber.
STUFFING: mix it up. We don’t want you to give up one of the very best things about Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, stuffing as a major calorie culprit, which means a little bit of compromise is in order. Instead of standard homemade stuffing, why not try something with more vegetables for a higher fiber count? Cranberry stuffing has greens like celery and parsley, and the fiber of ingredients like water chestnuts and apples. And doesn’t cranberry just taste like Thanksgiving
DESSERT: ditch the crust. Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without some seasonal dessert. There are a couple of quick fixes for making homemade pumpkin pie healthier. The first is to skip the crust entirely and bake the pie in molds, cutting out a heaping helping of calories with every slice. If you must have a crust (and who could blame you?), try a homemade crust over a store-bought one to skim some calories and get a richer, more satisfying flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s pretty easy to modify a pumpkin pie recipe to incorporate protein powder – just browse around online and you’ll find plenty of alternatives.
The most important thing of all is don’t stress too hard about Thanksgiving. After all, you work out so you can cut loose on the holidays. So have fun, eat what you want, and practice a little bit of mindfulness with your portions. Not only will you feel less guilt, you might also avoid the food coma and upset stomach that comes with indulging a little too much. Have any questions about how you can supplement or modify your Thanksgiving meal? Come in to Fitness Connection and talk to us at the front desk. We’ll be happy to help you craft the healthiest and tastiest Thanksgiving ever.