Thanksgiving means a lot of things to a lot of different folks. Front and center for me has always been family & friends, food and football. In that order. It could be totally different for you. However, for those who can and do celebrate Thanksgiving, I would imagine food fits into the equation somehow.
Food is a big part of it for a lot of people, in fact. Families talk about the meal and prep for it sometimes weeks before Thanksgiving. Who's bringing what, who's hosting, etc. There may be certain dishes that you look forward to all year long because Thanksgiving is really the only time you enjoy them. Dressing and cranberry sauce are two of my favorites.
And because food plays such a big role on Thanksgiving, many people tend to overindulge the day of and the days after (leftovers).
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American consumes more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering (including snacking and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner).
The temptation to enjoy the turkey, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, rice & gravy, etc. can be great. We tell ourselves its just one day, and in the grand scheme of things how much of a difference could it make to the waistline, really?
Now imagine how hard it is to navigate that Thanksgiving feast as a diabetic or someone who is trying to manage their weight. You can't simply rationalize with yourself and say you'll do better tomorrow. You have to make better choices because your body is dependent on it.
However, the American Diabetes Association recommends not letting "food stress you out" during the holidays. Enjoy yourself. Eat the turkey, all the trimmings, and even dessert, but plan ahead so you can create a healthy plate of food that isn't overloaded.
Here are some no-brainer swaps, courtesy of Recipes for Healthy Living, you can make for a healthier Thanksgiving plate:
- Turkey: Roast your bird instead of deep-frying it, and remove the skin before eating. Also, focus on the white breast meat, which is the leanest part of the bird.
- Stuffing: Add extra non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions to your stuffing, and use whole grain or 100% whole wheat bread.
- Potatoes: Non-fat Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to sour cream when dressing your baked potato. Or swap out the white potatoes for sweet potatoes, which are higher in fiber, calcium and vitamin C.
- Green beans: Swap out the traditional green bean casserole for non-starchy vegetable side dishes such as carrots, brussels sprouts or spinach. If it's a tradition and you want to keep the dish, lighten it up with low-fat milk, olive oil and whole wheat breadcrumbs.
- Baked goods: Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce, and instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute. Also, heavy cream can be swapped for low-fat or skim milk.
Some things, however, are just traditional. My family always has a gooey sweet potato casserole or candied yams, as well as a creamy sweet potato pie. With Bruce's Yams Cut Sweet Potatoes Sweetened with Splenda®, you can still enjoy those traditional favorites and more without all the added sugar.
Delight everyone with Mrs. Bruce's Delicious Sweet Potato Casserole, a tried and true sweet potato casserole recipe that is low in sugar and super easy to prepare. Or start a new, fruitier tradition with our Quick Yams in Apricot-Pineapple Splenda® Glaze.
For dessert, surprise family and friends with our Splenda® Yam Apple Crisp, featuring rolled oats, cinnamon and sugar-free apple butter. If you're a traditionalist, you've got to try our Splendid Sweet Potato Pie.