Health Matters: Having A Healthier Thanksgiving

If you’re counting your calories, Thanksgiving may be trouble.

But there are some things to consider for a guilt free holiday.

Many of us look forward to this day because it’s a tradition to enjoy that full course meal.

A clinical dietician from Essentia Health wants you to keep these tips in mind before you go back for seconds.

As it gets closer to meal time, different delicious scents start to fill your home.

And when you sit down, you’re ready to eat.

“People just lose sight of portion control,” said Amy Hieb, who is an Essentia Health Clinical Dietician.

That’s the main weakness many people have on Thanksgiving.

And when the high-carb items are the most desirable, it’s hard to stay away.

“Ones that I would avoid to have second helpings on would be the high-carb foods,” said Hieb. “Typically, those come with a lot of added gravies that you like to put on them. Mashed potatoes, stuffing…you tend to put more heavy creams and butters and rich ingredients in those food items.”

Snacking throughout the day is actually encouraged to stop you from binging.

“Lower calorie appetizers can fill you up with more high fiber nutrient rich foods so you don’t tend to overindulge on the higher fats,” explained Hieb.

If you can’t resist, there are ways to prepare your meals without the extra calories.

“Roasting in the oven like your sweet potatoes or other vegetables can help bring out that natural sweetness that you’re maybe looking for by caramelizing the sugar that’s in there,” she said.

Hieb recommends skipping the extra ingredients when possible including bacon, gravies or butter.

But especially watch it when it comes to desserts.

“A lot of times, you can get a nice product without putting in the full amount of sugar that the recipe calls for,” added Hieb.

She encourages her clients to remember this:

“Follow the 80–20 rule. Eighty percent of the time in your life, you want to try to follow the rules, the healthy eating guidelines, make the right choices, from a day to day basis. But 20 percent of the time, you allow for ‘I wasn’t aware of that’…’it’s a special holiday’…’I’m celebrating’,” she finished.

You don’t have to skip Thanksgiving, but these tips can help you stay on track during this special time.

Like any day of the year, drinking water over other beverages is recommended.

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