When you pile food on your plate during Thanksgiving dinner, you’re probably not counting calories. According to Real Simple, the average American consumes several thousand calories on Turkey day between all the plates of food and dessert.
Thanksgiving is the one day a year where your diet goes out the window, but if you’re looking for ways to make it healthier, here’s how.
One way to ease off the calories is by having more of what actually is healthy, like vegetables, and less of what isn’t. Have smaller portions of the less healthy stuff, like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls.
Another way to count your Thanksgiving calories is by watching what you eat and drink while cooking all day. You might be proud of yourself for skipping the mashed potatoes and stuffing, but if you nibbled on cheese and crackers all day, you’re still consuming lots of calories.
Try to hold off until dinner because that stuff comes once a year. You can eat cheese and crackers whenever. Also, if you like lots of wine or beer with your dinner, that’s even more calories.
Freshman social work student Kayla Greiss watches her portions. She also doesn’t like turkey, so that helps her in avoiding calories. She said, “I try to eat small portions instead of stuffing my face. You can incorporate more veggies to make it healthier. Since I don’t like turkey, I usually will have ham instead. I eat everything else on the table besides turkey, and without it I’m still stuffed.”
Mary Harris, specialist professor of communication, recommends preparing roasted vegetables and including a healthy green salad as one of the sides. She said, “It is actually surprisingly easy to have a vegan Thanksgiving feast. Mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, cornbread, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other holiday favorites can be made vegan. It simply requires replacing the animal ingredients with the plant-based alternatives. Luckily, there are many excellent food blogs that offer free recipes. Two plant-based blogs with excellent holiday recipes everyone would enjoy are ‘Minimalist Baker’ and ‘Oh She Glows.’”
Some other good advice to lessen the calories is to limit yourself to one dessert. With many options being available, of course your heart desires to have a little bit of everything. Instead of piling on the desserts, choose your favorite and have just that. And if you have a glass of water or cup of coffee beforehand, you won’t inhale that piece of pie.
Real Simple also suggests avoiding unnecessary calories. Having a piece of apple or pumpkin pie is enough. You don’t need to top it off with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Junior health and physical education student Allysa Parisi and junior chemistry student Karla Clavelo both agreed that eating slowly during your Thanksgiving meal is key.
Clavelo stated, “Eat slowly during dinner so you can tell when you’re actually full. Besides there’s so much food it’s not like it’s going to run out.”
So before going for a second plate of food, remember that Thanksgiving is about gratitude and family, it isn’t all about the food.
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