Thanksgiving Meal: How to eat healthy and well…Simmons
College nutrition experts give tips for enjoying the Thanksgiving
BOSTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ --
Health and nutrition specialists at Simmons College in Boston have
these tips for eating well at Thanksgiving while avoiding overeating
and gaining weight.
Q: On Thanksgiving, I tend
to go overboard with portions. How can I eat healthfully,
without feeling deprived?
Thanksgiving is filled with
wonderful foods that we tend to eat once or twice a year. We
recommend enjoying the flavor of the food by taking small bites,
eating slowly, making the food last, and eating only until you are
If we come to the table ravenous,
we tend to eat faster, eat more, and choose higher fat foods. The
best way to fend off hunger is to have a glass of water, a piece of
fruit or a small snack before the meal and while you are preparing
it to help you avoid eating too much too soon.
Be aware that
drinking alcohol can also stimulate appetite and lower inhibitions,
which may make it difficult to eat healthy.
And remember, you can
always take some food home with you for later -- something to look
Most importantly, don't have
Thanksgiving dinner be your only meal of the day.
Q: Why not? Wouldn't that be a
good way to keep my calorie intake down?
It is never a healthy choice to
just eat one meal throughout the day, not even on Thanksgiving. It
is best to give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day. If
people eat only one meal a day, they are ravenous and will tend to
eat more at that meal.
Q: I've been on a diet for a few
months now. How do I handle this food- laden holiday?
Work to maintain your weight,
instead of to lose weight, during the holiday season. Remember to
stay active, and continue to eat the healthy foods you have been
eating on your diet -- particularly whole grain, fruits and
vegetables, and lean meat and poultry.
Most of all, enjoy the holiday
season. Take the focus off of the food and create some new social
traditions with family and friends. Remember to re-affirm your
choices and your motivation for why you are on a diet or have made a
commitment to eat healthfully.
Q: In my family, we eat until
we're so stuffed, we can't move. Are there any tips that can help me
eat avoid eating "past full"?
Try to wait 20 minutes or so after
your first portion before going for seconds; let the fullness set
in. We tend to no longer feel hungry when we wait before going back
for seconds or thirds.
Q: What are some of the best food
choices during Thanksgiving? The worst?
There are no bad choices you can
make for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Over the long term, however,
choosing more healthful choices can make a difference in your
well-being.) The general rule of thumb is to eat what you enjoy, eat
small amounts, and enjoy the festivities. Load your plate up with a
variety of foods: lots of colorful vegetables, fruit, salad, whole
grains, and potatoes (sweet potato is a better choice than a white
potato because it is more nutrient dense), and turkey/poultry or
meat of choice. White meat -- which includes the breast -- is leaner
than dark meat. And here's an interesting fact: a study showed that
it didn't matter if the turkey was cooked with the skin, as long as
the skin was removed before eating it. Also when preparing foods,
use broths instead of cream, steam your vegetables, and have fresh
Q: Other than "tofurky" (tofu
shaped into a turkey), are there any food or dish substitutions you
recommend for a vegetarian?
Vegetable loaves, quiche or cheese
pies, pasta and rice dishes, and any soy product that you enjoy are
good choices. There also are some great vegetables available this
time of year, like acorn squash, parsnips, and pumpkin.
Q: Many people get tired after
eating their Thanksgiving meal. What's the best way to energize
ourselves after we eat?
Choose an activity that makes you
move after the meal. Take a walk with your friends or family, or put
on some of your favorite music and do some gentle dancing. This will
help with digestion and metabolism. Then you can return to cleaning
up from the meal, and get ready for the dessert course. Most
importantly, enjoy the day and the people you're spending it with!