It is Thanksgiving–it is time for family and time to eat some food!
Thanksgiving is really the only holiday that is all about food. You worked
really hard on your competition fitness; you don’t want to ruin all you hard
work by gorging yourself on holiday food. Thanksgiving is unavoidable, but here
are some ways you can make your Thanksgiving dinner healthier so you won’t feel
so guilty about holiday treats.
Starting with the star of the show, the
turkey. There are tons of ways to cook your turkey, but one way to avoiding
adding extra calories is to roast your turkey instead of frying it. I know, I
know! Calm down, it will be ok. I love a deep fried turkey just like the rest
of us, but by roasting your turkey, you can cut out about 15 calories per
ounce. Does not sound like a big difference and you are right. Deep-frying does
taste better and the calories are not that bad, but it is higher in fat. If
deep-frying your turkey is a deal breaker–that is ok! Thanksgiving has a lot of
sides you can cut calories on.
Mashed potatoes. There are some
great alternative mashed potato recipes out there, like using cauliflower
instead–which is AMAZING, by the way! If you cannot do away with your mashed
potatoes, you can lower the calories by using low fat milk instead of cream or
use margarine instead of butter. You can also lower the amount of Russet potatoes
you use and substitute butternut squash to make a healthier, but just as
delicious, version of traditional mashed potatoes.
Green bean casserole. This one is
easy to make healthier. Simply use a low fat and low sodium cream of mushroom
soup, low fat milk and don’t use as many of the pre-made crispy fried onions on the
top. You can always turn your oven on to broil after cooking to give the top of
your casserole a little crunch. Just by removing the prepackaged crispy fried
onion topping, you will cut out 45 calories per two tablespoons. JUST THE
Canned yams with
marshmallows. I know a lot of people love this side for Thanksgiving, but
you should really consider not making it at all. Canned yams and marshmallows
contain a lot of butter, sugar and fat. This dish will ruin any diet. If you
really want to cut back, don’t consider this dish an option. I KNOW! Don’t kill
me, but it is true. If you must make or consume canned yams, think of this dish
more as dessert and really watch your portion size.
There are also some great alternative side dishes that are healthier and just
as good. Instead of mashed potatoes, make quinoa. Have a side of roasted
vegetables like Brussel sprouts or asparagus. You can also make a salad, and
keep your side light and healthy.
Pie is also a big part of Thanksgiving. There are some great low-calorie
versions of pumpkin pie you can opt for, or you could just skip the pie all
together and make apple crisps or grilled pears. If pie is a must, try using
sugar alternatives versus granulated sugar. You can make mini pies filled with
yogurt, and fruit on top, and if you cannot live without pumpkin, make pumpkin-flavored
pudding with whipped cream on top.
The best way to have a healthier Thanksgiving dinner is to really think about
what you can skimp down on and what is a something that you cannot live
without. If you love a deep-fried turkey, then go with asparagus instead of a
green bean casserole. Can you live without canned yams? Have a salad instead. Switch
out mashed potatoes with a baked potato, where you can control the amount of
toppings. By making simple changes, you can make any meal healthier. Also, be sure
to watch your portion size. Just because it is Thanksgiving does not mean you have
to eat the entire turkey. Eat slowly and when you feel full, stop. Plus, it
also never hurts to get a good workout in before dinner. Make it fun, and wake
up early to take a walk with the family or do a local footrace! Also, remember
not to stress: the holidays are about family, so enjoy your day off spending
time with the people you love.
What are other Thanksgiving dinner hacks to
stay fit for competitions? Tell us what worked for you in the comments!