Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful for the food on our table, the roof above our head and grateful for the hearts that warm our cold days, strong shoulders that hold our sad heads. It is also about indulgence in the calorie-loaded mashed potatoes, turkey and pumpkin pie that makes everyone worry about their waistlines. Do I fast the day before so that I can feast on Thanksgiving day? Should I fill my palate only with salad and miss out on the feast? How can I have a joyful holiday without adding extra pounds? Here are a few simple tips :
1. Start the day by drinking a lot of water. A drink of warm water or hot tea half an hour before mealtime will improve satiety and decrease splurging.
2. Skip the starters and go for a bowl of hearty butternut squash soup about 160 calories/serving. The secret to keeping the calories down is by using vegetable broth only and not heavy cream. Also adding vegetables like celery, carrots, etc will increase the fiber content thereby making it filling.
3. When it comes to the bird, ditch the skin of the turkey which is fatty and eat only lean moist turkey meat. Also, avoid brushing it with butter and use olive oil instead. Season it with herbs, salt, and pepper to add flavor. Slow-cooked turkey breast in a broiler will serve you a traditional Thanksgiving meal with as little as 130 calories/serving. Can’t beat that!
4. Tangy orange zest and grated ginger added to any store-bought cranberry sauce will make it a delicious flavor booster as well as help with digestive issues.
5. The must-have-mashed potatoes are another challenge during a Thanksgiving meal. You can prepare a half cup of mashed potatoes about 60 calories by adding sweet potatoes which are higher in soluble fiber than white potatoes and are a rich source of vitamins and anti-oxidant. Skip the butter, cream and use skim milk instead.
6. Seasonal vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, turnips tossed with olive oil and seasoning will definitely be a low calorie, high fiber plate filler.
7. Finally, when it comes to the sweet indulgence, treat yourself to muffin-sized pumpkin pie rather than an individual slice from the pie. Bite-sized apple tarts, apple pie are other options to keep your calorie points down.
8. The day after is the day to put away all the leftovers, to tighten your belt and get back on track. Food is very much a part of holidays but holidays are not only about food. It is about celebrating our family and friends. Be mindful of what you splurge on during this holiday, keep your health a priority and enrich yourself with good spirit and positive thought. Be sure to take extra precaution this year to protect yourself and your loved ones from the pandemic. Let’s all be thankful for our blessings and say a prayer for those in need.
Author Dr. Aparna Chandra, MD, FOMA Dr. Chandra is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine. She has been honored with the designation of Fellow of the Obesity Medicine Association for her contribution to obesity medicine. Her primary focus has been centered around screening, preventing, and managing obesity. She offers a comprehensive medically supervised weight loss program at Jersey Medical Weight Loss Center, North Brunswick, NJ. She is actively involved in spreading awareness about Obesity through her blogs, radio shows, podcasts, Youtube channel, and publications.