Eating Healthy on Thanksgiving

by Callie Todaro

This year’s Thanksgiving holiday may be celebrated a little differently due to the COVID guidelines and restrictions. Even if we can’t get together with all of our relatives or end up having a virtual Thanksgiving dinner, many of us will still want to celebrate the biggest feast of the year in the best way possible. While cooking up your favorite traditional meals, keep in mind that some foods may not be the best. Read the tips below on certain foods you should avoid or replace with better options:

  • Pecan Pie. Pumpkin pie may be an all-time favorite on Thanksgiving Day, but pecan pie follows closely behind. Pecans themselves are good for fiber, but mix them with a pie and they become dangerous to your diet. A piece of pecan pie is loaded with extra sugar, butter, and bad carbs. An average piece of pecan pie has 503 calories, 64 grams of carbs, and 27 grams of fat. If you don’t want to avoid pecan pie completely, try making mini pecan pies in muffin pans. This will at least reduce the total calories, sugar, and fat you take in.
  • Alcohol. Don’t be tempted to skip over this one! Alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise. If you’re around your relatives for the holiday, your blood pressure may rise on its own; you don’t need to give it any extra help. Alcohol can also cause your blood sugar levels to lower which will make you want to eat more because you won’t feel full. If you’re looking forward to kicking your feet back on Thanksgiving Day with a cold one in your hand, maybe try a lighter beer or a glass of wine.
  • Homemade gravy. This one may be tough to avoid especially on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to eat turkey and mashed potatoes without the homemade gravy. Just a quarter of a cup of gravy contains 262 calories, 26 grams of carbs and 18 grams of fat. If you can’t avoid it, maybe just try to limit the amount you use.
  • Boxed Stuffing. Although it may save a lot of time in preparing a large meal, boxed stuffing is very high in sodium. A better option for your health would be to make stuffing from whole-grain or whole-wheat breads.
  • Green bean casserole. Although green bean casserole is a classic favorite and mostly served at Thanksgiving, the butter, the crunchy fried onions, and the cream of mushroom soup make the dish high in fat, calories, and salt. Another option would be to serve green beans sprinkled with bacon or turkey bacon on top. If you like the casserole type dish, you can try using Greek yogurt instead of the cream of mushroom soup or use skim milk. You can also replace your green beans with another vegetable, like Brussels sprouts. Roasted Brussels sprouts is a tasty dish that is easy to prepare and high in vitamin C and fiber.

Thanksgiving is only one day a year, but eating the wrong foods may make you feel miserable and suffer for the next few days. Surveys have shown that the average American consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, which is more than double the amount of an ordinary day. Enjoy the feast, but take care of your health and well-being while doing it.