Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is on the horizon! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, reflect on things we are grateful for, watch some football and of course, enjoy delicious food. Did you know that the average amount of calories consumed on Thanksgiving Day is generally between 3,000-5,000 calories? Yikes!
While food usually fills the spotlight during the holidays, it doesn’t have to overshadow your goals for good health. Knowing which foods and behaviors to focus on, and which to enjoy in moderation, will help make your Thanksgiving Day, and the rest of your holiday season, much healthier. Here are some tips to help make your holiday a healthy success and keep you on track towards your goals:
- Revisit your short and long-term goals and reminisce about why you set them in the first place.
- Anticipate opportunities and potential challenges you may encounter during the day.
Rethink your Thanksgiving plate:
- Step 1: Fill half your plate with vegetables, such as green beans, salad and brussels sprouts.
- Step 2: Fill one-quarter of your plate with lean protein like turkey breast.
- Step 3: Leave the remaining one-quarter for your other favorite side.
- Step 4: Before grabbing a second helping, take a moment to check in on your hunger cues. If you notice you are still hungry, choose vegetables first, then proteins, then side dishes.
Don’t forget beverages or desserts:
- Beverages can account for up to 25% of your calories on Thanksgiving. Consider drinking water or iced tea and adding a slice of lemon for flavor.
- It is possible to have dessert and stay on track with your goals. Profile-ize your desserts by talking with your coach about the many recipes, ideas and alternatives.
Other useful tips:
- Take time to reflect on what you are thankful for!
- Stay hydrated!
- Focus on family and conversations.
- Value your sleep schedule leading up to the big day.
When we think of the typical Thanksgiving Day meal, most of us think of stuffing. Here is a great low carb, low calorie, light and delicious alternative to the standard stuffing recipe. Cauliflower is a great source of fiber to keep you feeling full.
Profile Exchange: 1 cup vegetables, ½ fat
• 1 medium head of cauliflower
• 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
• 4 tsp. olive oil
• ½ tbsp. poultry seasoning or Mrs. Dash seasoning of choice
• 1 small yellow onion, diced
• 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ¼ tsp. black pepper
• 3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until “rice” consistency is reached.
2. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
4. Add cauliflower and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fully cooked.
5. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until they’ve begun to sweat, about 5 minutes.
6. Top with spices and vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
7. Serve alongside turkey.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
This healthy sweet potato casserole recipe is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish! Sweet potatoes are great because they are just that, SWEET! Not only is this recipe easy to make, it’s delicious to boot!
Profile Exchange per serving: 1 starch, ½ cup vegetable, 1 free food
• 4-6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾- inch cubes
• 1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
• 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
• 4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• ¾ cup chopped pecans
• Pinch nutmeg
• ½ cup mini marshmallows
• Pinch salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2.5-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
2. Put the sweet potatoes in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain.
3. In large bowl, use a blender to mash the sweet potatoes.
4. Add the yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mash the potato mixture some more. Add brown sugar if desired.
5. Add the eggs and blend them in as well. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Top evenly with the pecans and marshmallows and continue to bake until marshmallows are puffed and lightly browned, about 10-15 more minutes.
PROFILE PUMPKIN PIE PUDDING
Craving a dessert but do not want to get off track with your goals? Here is a great fall and Thanksgiving recipe for pumpkin pie pudding. This is a guilt-free and healthy alternative to the many desserts we encounter at Thanksgiving Day meals and other fall events.
Profile Exchange: 1 meal replacement, 1 free food
• 1 packet Profile Vanilla Shake mix
• ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tbsp. pumpkin puree
• 6oz. cold water
• 1 tsp. white chocolate sugar-free pudding mix
• Fat-free whipped topping
1. Combine all ingredients, except whipped topping, in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
2. Let chill for 5 minutes.
3. Top with whipped topping and a dash of cinnamon.