Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and for some people this marks the start of the holiday season — a time to feast with family or friends, but just as easily a time to overindulge in foods that are bad for you.
But there are changes you can make to your holiday meal that will help you stay healthy and avoid weight gain.
So why not try some of these healthy holiday food swaps:
Swap meat for vegetarian stuffing
If you usually make your stuffing with sausage meat or a packet mix, it’s likely to be quite high in salt. You can reduce the salt content by trying a vegetarian version instead, using chestnuts, onion, herbs and rice.
Swap candied sweet potatoes for roasted ones
While sweet potatoes themselves have a high nutritional value, baking them with butter, sugar and marshmallows adds too much processed sugar to the dish. Instead, keep the sweet potatoes simple by baking or roasting them in a little olive oil. Another healthy alternative is butternut squash, which is high in vitamin A and low in calories.
Mashed potatoes - keep them simple
It can be tempting to make mashed potatoes creamier by adding butter, cheese and cream, but this increases the fat content. Keep your mashed potatoes as healthy as possible by making them with a dash of milk and butter.
Swap store-bought cranberry sauce for homemade
Shop-bought cranberry sauce often contains added sugar, which can encourage overeating by increasing levels of the ‘hunger hormone’ ghrelin. It can also decrease levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone peptide YY (PYY). You can reduce the sugar in your cranberry sauce by making it yourself.
Swap pecan pie for baked apples with yoghurt
Pecan pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert that is high in calories and sugar. A single slice of pie can contain up to 503 calories. Try baked apples topped with cinnamon and greek yoghurt instead.
Quote of the day
An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Irv Kupcinet, journalist