Thanksgiving is the time to eat and be merry. Never mind about your diet. No? Actually, you can still eat and be merry on Thanksgiving without ditching your diet.
First, let’s look at the main components of a Thanksgiving feast. There’s the turkey. Can we skip the turkey? Some people do. They have something else called a tofurky. That’s a turkey lookalike made from tofu. Is the tofurky really better for your diet than the traditional turkey? According to some nutritionists, the difference is not significant.
Get the right turkey
In the first place, as a meat, turkey is good for you. It is lean meat with little fat. Turkey is the meat of choice for some bodybuilders because it gives them lots of protein without too much fat. There are actually two kinds of turkey meat – the white meat and the dark meat. The white meat is basically the meat from the breast. The dark meat is the meat from the thighs. Of the two, per serving, the white meat has fewer calories than the dark meat. You get something like ten percent fewer calories in the white meat. So, if you are counting calories, go for the white meat. Who’s going to eat all the dark meat then? Don’t worry, there will be lots of other people who don’t have to count calories. Like the kids. They would love to get the turkey drumsticks.
While we are on the subject of turkeys, take a look at where your turkey comes from. First, go for the whole bird. Processed turkey meat is very often full of salt. That’s bad for your health. Then check to see how the turkey is bred. Go for the pasture bred turkey. This is free range farming. The turkeys get to run in open fields and eat natural grass other than their staple food pellets. This type of turkey is also called heritage turkeys. The other type is turkeys bred in processing plant conditions. Such turkeys are force-fed to grow fast. So they are full of antibiotics and other chemicals which you don’t want to eat. When in doubt, always double-check.
That’s settled then. Buy a whole turkey from a free range farm. Eat your turkey. Just stick to the white meat.
Stuff with veggies
Now, what else is part of the Thanksgiving feast? The stuffing. Yes, that’s a great source of calories. Bread and pork make up a good part of the traditional stuffing. The bread is a carbohydrate. The pork is meat and lots of fat. Not exactly the best combination.
So what’s the healthier alternative? Try using fruits and herbs for the stuffing instead. There’s a tasty recipe combining apples with various herbs. There’s some bread in the recipe, too. You can improve that by using whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread has got lots more fiber and vitamins than white bread which is actually a food stripped of a lot of nutrients for the sake of looks and taste.
Besides the turkey, there are side dishes. Some people load the table with side dishes made up of more meat dishes. Not a good idea for healthy eating. Cook side dishes made up of vegetables. There are many types of vegetables with different colors, tastes, and textures to add a lot of variety to the table fare. Think of ways to combine, say, green kale with white cauliflower and red carrots.
The Thanksgiving feast is essentially a dinner affair. So a good way to keep the calories down is to skip breakfast and lunch to save room for dinner. Right? No, that’s the worst thing you could do. By being too hungry at dinner, you will just end up binge eating, which means sayonara to your diet. Eat your normal breakfast and lunch. Before dinner, have a big glass of water or fruit juice. So when you sit down for the Thanksgiving dinner, you can eat slowly without gorging.
Some people advocate balancing your servings. One idea is to fill half your plate with vegetables. That’s the stuff which makes you feel full with a low calorie count. Then share the remaining space equally between the stuffing and the turkey. This will give you a satisfying meal without blowing your calorie budget for the day.
There’s actually another better idea. Just get a smaller plate. You cannot eat too much when you have less space to put your food. Of course, skip the second helping. Take a drink instead. Plain water would be harmless to your diet. Give the sweet drinks a miss or just a sip if you must.
Eat and be merry
After dinner, socialize. Don’t just sit there. Get up and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Dance, play games, whatever. Anything works better than just plain sitting down. It helps with your digestion and you get a head start with burning your calories.
There you are. You can have your turkey and all the yummy parts of Thanksgiving without saying bye-bye to your diet. Have fun.
Veronica is an enthusiastic blogger that writes for Reviews Academy. At RA, she reviews entire categories of products and not individual models in order to offer you a complete picture of all options available on the market. Her mission is to provide the readers with comprehensive and trustworthy opinions to help them make the perfect buying decision.