by Andrea Sarjeant, Holistic Nutritionist

Thanksgiving is the time of being thankful and surrounding ourselves with loved ones. But it’s also the time of big plates and heavy foods that can leave us feeling less than wonderful with every additional bite we take. I’ve put some tips together to help lighten your Thanksgiving table.

 

  Turkey Choices   1. Load up on veggies

     2. Lighten up your mashed potatoes

     3. Go au naturel with your stuffing

     4. Buy a natural, pasture-raised bird

     5. Resist the urge to go back for more

     6. If you’re choosing dessert, make it a homemade and healthier option

 

1. Load up on veggies. The easiest way to lighten up your Thanksgiving spread is to add some in-season vegetable dishes. Vegetables are lower in calories and the glycemic index, meaning that they will help to keep your blood sugar stable. Plus, veggies are high in fibre, which helps to keep you feeling full.

Some ideas:

  • Steam some lovely in-season green beans and top with butter or olive oil and plenty of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Roast Brussels sprouts in a little oil, salt and pepper. If you’re feeling fancy, add a little balsamic vinegar and hot chili flakes to help the sprouts caramelize. You can also roast broccoli or even cabbage this same way (minus the balsamic) for a delicious and unexpected twist on a side.
  • Adding some other veggies to your plate will add tons of colour and nutrition. Consider roasting some fennel with onions, apple, a little sweet potato and some ginger.

2. Lighten up your mashed potatoes. Potatoes can be a pretty caloric and heavy investment. Consider adding some in-season cauliflower to your mash to lighten things up. Cauliflower is much lower in calories and the glycemic index than regular white potatoes. Plus, when it’s steamed and mashed, cauli takes on the texture of mashed potatoes. Try a 50/50 split of white potatoes and cauliflower.

3. Go au naturel with your stuffing. Instead of a pre-packaged stuffing mix, which is loaded with sodium and extra calories, try making your own with a good quality whole grain bread (even gluten-free), some fresh herbs and dried fruit.

4. Buy a natural, pasture-raised bird. You may think of omega-3 fatty acids as only coming from fish, but did you know that naturally raised meat can be a good source of heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory omega-3s? Pasture-raised turkeys have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally raised.

5. Resist the urge to go back for more. You love all the wonderful tastes on your plate and you feel compelled to go back for more. But don’t! Remind yourself that you can have leftovers. These same great tastes will be around for you tomorrow.

6. If you’re choosing dessert, make it a homemade and healthier option. Pumpkin or sweet potato pie is a healthier pie option. For one, it only has the bottom crust, which cuts back on calories. If you’re feeling adventurous, try my grain- and nut-free pumpkin or sweet potato pie with a little dollop of coconut cream. Check out this healthy pumpkin pie recipe! http://innatewellness.ca/2013/09/20/oh-my-pumpkin-pie/