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Thanksgiving Day is an ideal occasion to spend some time with your family, especially if you have not been able to recently, so make it memorable. However, preparation for Thanksgiving has to be neither stressful nor tiring if you are time-effective and organized.
To make this day memorable, you should draw on your previous experiences and your creativity. Planning this holiday takes time, on the other hand, with some great tips and instruction, you can make use of your time, and above all, prepare a healthy Thanksgiving meal for your family.
This is what you need to do before you start preparing if you want to avoid overindulging and unhealthy cooking.
♥ Eat and buy real food
We often use many processed and canned food in traditional dishes (cream of mushroom soup for instance). Buy food at the local farmers’ market to save yourself food coloring, excess sodium, and preservatives. The food on the market is fresh, seasonal, and many times organic.
♥ Choose your recipes on time
Do not let yourself be unprepared.
♥ Choose a healthy cooking oil
Certain oil, when heated, can destroy anti-inflammatory nutrients and cause oxidative stress to the body.
For higher-heat cooking, opt for coconut oil because it has a high smoke point. For salads, use extra virgin organic olive oil. If you can, avoid cooking with corn and soybean oil.
♥ Pick your turkey carefully and get healthy proteins
Buy organic or heritage breed turkey.
♥ Use your creativity
Be creative and innovative. For instance, instead of stuffing, try quinoa grains. If you are in favor of traditional dishes, try using some easy substitutions that would improve the quality and make your meal healthier.
♥ If you need store-bought dishes, turn them into homemade
For instance, if you are buying a pie, make your topping.
♥ Use your stovetop when your oven is on overload
There are plenty of delicious meals you can prepare using the stovetop. Wild and brown rice are great stovetop options that will give you the perfect amount of fiber you need.
♥ Do not underestimate vegetables
Stir-fried vegetables such as Brussels sprouts are excellent. If you add some onion, salt, pepper and olive oil, you will have an excellent side to any meal. Above all, they are very healthy – low in fat, calories and cholesterol, and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and folate. They are also very low in sodium.
♥ If you want to save time, prepare some of your dishes ahead, and freeze them
Ice cream desserts are great options to make ahead. Remember to freeze your food only when it reaches room temperature. It is very important to freeze your food in a proper container. Air and moisture are two common enemies in causing a freezer burn.
How your healthy dinner should look like?
Let us start with the basics if you want to eat healthy and avoid overeating.
♥ Your plate should look like this: half of the plate should be filled with vegetables (broccoli, red peppers, beets) while a portion of turkey should cover about a quarter. The last quarter should be used for a cup of potatoes and half a cup of stuffing.
♥ The most dangerous on your table are vegetables cooked in a creamy sauce. Reach for steamed vegetables with olive oil, lemon and herbs (you will save about 150 calories per serving) because candied sweet potatoes and broccoli topped with cheese will not do you any good.
♥ As for the turkey, avoid the skin and choose white meat over dark. The white meat over the turkey leg has a third less calories.
♥ If you do not want to gain weight, skip seconds and go for small plates. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
♥ Pumpkin pie is okay, in fact, a slice of the pie. Pumpkin pie has fewer calories and sugar than apple pie or the pumpkin cheesecake. Avoid adding ice cream or whipped cream.
♥ Stay away from soda, juice and alcohol. A glass of wine or wine spritzer is good. Drink water because water helps curb appetite and make you feel fuller for a longer time.
♥ Stop eating when you are full and remember that the brain gets the information that you are full after 20 minutes.
♥ Lastly, do not skip breakfast and lunch. Eating your regular meals will help you control your appetite. However, avoid snacking throughout the day.
♥ Save the leftovers as well. Do not waste food; use it the next day for lunch or dinner. When storing food, use glass instead of plastic.
What changes can you make to your Thanksgiving meal?
♥ Cook your turkey in browning bag to keep it moist and without fat.
♥ Get rid of the fat on turkey with roasting the turkey on a rack.
♥ Fill your stuffing with low-calorie food – celery, onion and poultry seasoning.
♥ You can replace real butter or margarine with butter-flavored granules.
♥ Make your sweet potatoes with egg whites instead of the whole egg.
♥ You can switch from regular cream cheese or sour cream to fat-free products.
What should you do before dinner?
Be creative and enjoy preparing Thanksgiving feast.
♥ Arrange the table decorations
♥ Create a Thanksgiving-theme centerpiece for the table
♥ Use scented candles or a bouquet of autumn flowers and make a Thanksgiving flower arrangement
♥ Choose interesting music for the overall atmosphere
What should you do after dinner?
Enjoy spending time with your family, but try to activate your body. Lying down after the meal and watching TV is not good for you. You can go outside, play football with your family, or just enjoy the weather. It is good if we make this a habit after every meal, not only for Thanksgiving.
Be grateful and practice gratitude. Reflect on the year that has passed, and think about the ways your next year can be better and how you can become a better person.
Images credit: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 11/14/2019