Yes! The joy and utter chaos of Thanksgiving is finally here!
During this lovely holiday season, it can be difficult to make healthy choices and keep your nutrition on the right path for obtaining your goals.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy fun and yummy foods with your family and friends, but you will have to be even more aware of your choices and how they will impact your health, your weight, and/or your performance inside and outside of the gym.
Easy Thanksgiving Cooking Swaps and Meal Planning:
Make simple dishes. Casseroles and the like are easy for holiday meals and tend to be part of tradition, however, it can be very difficult to comprehend all that you’re eating when all the ingredients are compiled into one dish. Start with your vegetable choices. Make simple pans of baked/roasted vegetables, such as leeks, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, squashes, etc., or sauté your vegetables on the stove to save oven space, such as mushrooms and peas, Brussels sprouts, squashes, etc.
Add only 3 ingredients or less. Especially for your potato and sweet potato dishes, try to limit your added ingredients. Butter, milk, cheese, marshmallows, sugar, seasonings, etc., can all add unnecessary extra calories and sugar. Focus on simple mashes and leave everything else on the side to be added by each individual person as needed.
A serving size is a serving size. Read the serving sizes on your stuffing box, gravy container, pie lid, etc. Heaping food on your plate through a buffet line is a sure way to overload your serving sizes and lead you to consume the entire plate, unknowingly consuming 3-5x the intended serving sizes for certain foods. As for turkey, try to aim for an amount that would fit in the palm of your hand. For vegetables, aim to have them fill about 1/3 of your plate. This allows you to feel like you’re consuming plenty of food without the added calories.
Pass on the bread. Leave out the rolls this year! Stuffing is already a form of bread, not to mention, if you’re choosing to have pie, you could intentionally save your sugar for that slice. In our bodies, rolls and pie will be digested and utilized in almost the same way, so make the decision on which you’re going to have.
Eat other meals prior. Most of us tend to limit our meals prior to Thanksgiving dinner, in anticipation of consuming plenty of food to fill our stomaches for the remainder of the day. To prevent this overeating, eat breakfast, a snack, and maybe even lunch prior to your Thanksgiving dinner, depending on what time your meal is set for.
This could look something like:
7:30a - 2 eggs, 1/2 cup bell peppers, 1/4 black beans, 3oz brown rice, and 1 tbsp salsa.
11:00a - 30g oatmeal cooked in 3oz unsweetened almond milk, topped with 5g honey and 50g blueberries + 2 slices turkey bacon.
1:15p - 2 cups spinach, 0.5oz goat cheese, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, 2oz grilled chicken, 1 tbsp olive oil & balsamic mixture.
3:30p - Thanksgiving dinner.
Other, the goal is to make the best choices possible, be happy with those choices, and have a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
Your C5 Nutrition Intern,