Give Thanks for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather at the table and give thanks. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for over-eating, bellyaches, and fear of expanding waistlines. In fact, the American Council of Exercise estimates the traditional holiday feast of turkey and all the trimmings contains more than 3,000 calories and 225 grams of fat.

Try these tips to beat the statistics and enjoy a happy, healthier holiday this year.

Begin with Breakfast. While it may seem logical to skip breakfast and save your calories for a midday feast, this is actually the opposite of what you should do. Eating breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps you from overeating later. For a balanced breakfast, try to include three of the five recommended food groups. Fiber from whole grains and fruit paired with lean protein will help keep you full so you’re less likely to overdo it later.

On a chilly fall morning, nothing beats a bowl of piping hot oatmeal. Make yours with milk for an extra dose of protein and top it with apples and cinnamon.

Clean up Classics. Everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving dish. Don’t leave it off the menu. Instead, try to lighten it up. Odds are, no one will notice, and if they do, they’ll thank you for it. Try this Wholesome Stuffing recipe. It provides whole grains and protein thanks to the use of whole wheat bread and cheese. It also cuts down on fat by using turkey sausage. Another favorite, thisSweet & Spicy Sweet Potato Bake uses half the amount of sugar found in traditional recipes and replaces refined, white flour with whole grain.

Move More. Fall is a great time to be outside. Incorporate outdoor games into your Thanksgiving gathering. Divide guests into teams for flag football or set up stations for bocce ball, croquet or bean bag toss. Even something as simple as taking a walk post-meal is a great way to catch-up with friends and family and burn off extra calories.

For more nutrition tips and recipes, visit www.southeastdairy.org.

LauraMarbury_headshot_smallLaura Marbury, MS, RD, LD