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Enjoy the Food, but Stay on Track for a Healthy Lifestyle this Thanksgiving

Posted on November 22, 2017

Whether you are trying to lose a few pound or just want to maintain your weight, the holidays can be a difficult time of year! We’re here to help. 

Pumpkin Pie

Going to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving 

  • The first and easiest tip is to pick a smaller plate. We often want to fill our plates to the max, so a smaller plate will help you limit what you eat. 
  • When eating turkey, go for the light meat over the dark meat.  A 3-ounce serving of turkey breast — about the size of a deck of cards — contains 115 calories, 26 grams protein, less than a gram of fat, 71 mg cholesterol, no carbohydrate or fiber, and 44 mg sodium.
  • Look for steamed vegetables instead of higher-calorie casseroles
  • Try to limit carbs, choose either mashed potatoes or a roll, but not both

Simple changes if you are the chef 

Unless you want some idealistic holiday photographs, you don’t need to present the whole turkey. Instead, look for a fresh turkey breast. A 5-pound to 6-pound turkey breast roasted at 325 °F will cook in about 2 hours. Basting with butter or oil isn’t necessary. Also, remove the skin before slicing and serving because that’s where most of the fat is. The breast will supply about 3 pounds of solid white meat.

Other tips for the feast: 

  • If you are cooking a turkey breast, you’ll need to create your own gravy. Start with nonfat chicken broth. To thicken, use a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch dissolved in a half cup of cold water. Stir it with a whisk. Add chopped mushrooms for a giblet. 
  •  Instead of adding butter or oil to your vegetables, let them be themselves. Steam the beans and use fresh-cut veggies as an appetizer tray, maybe with a little low-fat dip. Plain sweet potatoes — hold the marshmallows, please — add color to your plate.
  • Shoot for quality, not quantity. Reduce the amount of food you prepare. Instead of 14 dishes, limit it to seven or eight dishes. Doing so will save time and money and spare you from eating leftovers for the next several days.

You may try all of these tips and still overeat. It’s okay to slip up every once and a while, especially on a holiday! Don’t beat yourself up. Simply get back on track tomorrow, and maybe end the day with a brisk walk with your family. 

Need help with the turkey? You can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll-free at 888-674-6854 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays except for federal holidays and Thanksgiving Day when it’s open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Find additional healthy tips and recipes at Covenant’s free online Health Library here:

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