Thanksgiving is a time for “the three Fs”—family, football and food. But while two of those things won’t pose a threat to your diet, the annual Thanksgiving feast can make healthy eating a challenge. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few smart decisions, a little bit of restraint and a lot of water, you can have a healthy and happy holiday season.
The good news about Thanksgiving is that the main course is actually a healthy option you can feel good about piling your plate with. Turkey is both low in fat and high in protein. A single three-ounce portion of boneless and skinless turkey breast packs in 14 grams of protein and 20 micrograms of omega-3 fatty acids. Each serving only contains one gram of fat, and no saturated fat. One three-ounce serving of chicken on the other hand, contains about five times as much fat.
Thanksgiving dinner however is not a one-course meal. Oftentimes, the table is filled with scrumptious side dishes just waiting to be gobbled up. While these delectable dishes might make your taste buds smile, they can quickly throw your diet off-track if not eaten in moderation.
For example, heaping spoonfuls of mashed potatoes topped with butter or sour cream can quickly add extra calories to your plate. In addition to eating carbohydrate-loaded mashed potatoes, you should try to avoid second helpings of stuffing or pumpkin pie.
How healthy your holiday meal is also depends on how your food is prepared. While some variations of two dishes may taste similar, they can have completely different nutritional values. Yams, or sweet potatoes, are very high in vitamins B, C and D. However, all of those health benefits can be taken away when you add toppings such as butter, brown sugar or marshmallows.
As you’re enjoying your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, remember to drink plenty of water! Water aids digestion and makes you feel more full, so don’t be shy filling up your glass of water as often as possible. Being properly hydrated will also improve your mood, which is key with the hectic nature of a full house and a full menu this Thanksgiving!