For many folks, the Thanksgiving meal is the best dining experience of the year … filled with all sorts of family favorite recipes and traditional goodies, like cakes, pies and cookies. If you’re fortunate to experience a family meal with lots of friends and loved ones, be sure to enjoy it. But as you begin to plan your meal and your own personal dining consumption, there’s no reason why it can’t be a healthy experience too!
Try to prepare a balanced menu for Thanksgiving that includes healthy options. And when Turkey Day has finally arrived, here are some things to keep in mind.
Get off to a good start. Avoid the temptation to “save room” for the big meal. Eat a typical breakfast, try to take in some physical activity and stay hydrated. All of this will come in handy later in the day.
Make portion control your priority. Don’t go overboard on the appetizers and try to take smaller portions of more menu items, rather than filling up your plate to the brim. If the opportunity permits, even consider using smaller plates. This is an effective way to eat less.
Eat intelligently. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of the Thanksgiving traditions you love. Just be mindful of which items are loaded with sugar, starches, calories and the like. These are the parts of the meal that call for smaller portions. And if you have an opportunity to make one or more of the dishes, look for recipes that substitute healthier ingredients or rely less on fats, sugar and calories. There’s a very good chance your diners won’t notice the difference.
Eat slowly. It’s a good idea to eat slowly too. You enjoy what you’re eating even more, have less time to eat more of it, and will make digestion less of a challenge. There can be nothing worse than the sense of overeating that follows you away from the dining room table!
Finally, here’s a bonus tip … lay the groundwork for healthy eating on the days after Thanksgiving. If you take leftovers home, make sure its the healthy menu items. Send the desserts home with someone else. If you keep returning to a fridge that is well-stocked with healthy foods, it increases the odds that your 1 special day of eating bliss is just that … 1 day.