Thanksgiving is upon us. I LOVE Thanksgiving Day….and it isn’t just for the food! I love the whole idea of Thanksgiving…mostly because I don’t think that many people are thankful enough or kind enough all year through. But, people in general are more kind, thoughtful, loving and appreciative around this holiday.
This year however, I have a little bit of anxiety surrounding the holiday. I just spent 8 weeks (in SLC Fit Collective’s 8 Week Slim Down Challenge) working my butt of trying to lose body fat. Since the Slim Down is over, I don’t want to gain back the 9 1/4 inches and/or 3% body fat I was able to rid myself of. So, I have made it my personal goal to make my Thanksgiving Dinner (at least the portions I am responsible for) healthier (while keeping the yummy taste). I learned so many things during the Slim Down…one of which being how to be a healthier eater. Lindsay LaPaugh, Health Coach and Owner of Soul Food Living, LLC, gave us so much insight into ways to get the processed junk out of our lives and learn to live mostly on fruits, veggies and healthy meats, that I think I might be up for the challenge.
So, what are some things you and I can do to make a fulfilling, yet thinner Thanksgiving day (and meal)?
1. First and most importantly, skip anything processed. I know Thanksgiving dinner can be a difficult and time-consuming meal to prepare. Sometimes, those processed portions seem so tempting to save you some time. But, in all reality, most processed foods have no real nutritional value to them. Plus…anything fresh tastes better. I know in the past, my family has eaten potato flakes rather than real mashed potatoes with our meal. That ends this year. I have volunteered to be in charge of potatoes and plan to make them irresistible. Other processed items that you might be familiar with are pre-made stuffing mix, canned corn, canned yams and of course, canned cranberry sauce. All of these items can be made from scratch, and might just be easier than you think.
2. Instead of basting the turkey with processed chicken broth, brine your turkey the night before using your own homemade brine. My husband and I have done this for the last four years. Not only is a brine simple to make (and really simple to apply to your turkey), it also makes a marked difference in how your turkey tastes. Your turkey will be much more flavorful and deliciously tender. You will thank me! We have tried several different brine recipes. A great place to find them is www.foodnetwork.com. We will be trying the Bay and Lemon Brine courtesy of Dave Leiberman. Check it out and find your favorite.
3. Reduce your usage of oil and butter whenever possible and try using plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in things such as mashed potatoes, casseroles or dips.
Of course, you can really only control what you are bringing to your Family Thanksgiving Dinner. However, you can also control what you consume. Steer clear of a lot of breads, starches and sweets. Instead fill your plate with white turkey meat and as many fruits and veggies as you can fit. You will be glad that you did when you step on the scale the next morning. Also, make sure you eat breakfast Thanksgiving morning. Even a small meal will help you be in better control of your own appetite. And…just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean you should give up on your weekly workout routines. Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, let’s resolve to be healthy all year!
Happy Fitness…and Happy (Thinner) Thanksgiving!