House Call: Thanksgiving – Healthy Options at the Family Gathering
Although Thanksgiving is a great holiday to spend with family and eat tasty food, it should not serve as an excuse to binge on unhealthy options. Therefore, remember to be mindful of portion sizes and nutritional choices when filling your plate at this year’s feast.
Start by asking yourself three questions:
- What am I in the mood for?
- How hungry am I?
- What is good for me?
Try to make healthy choices, by selecting the vegetable dishes such as green beans and sweet potatoes. Opt for the white meat of the turkey, as it is leaner than the dark meat. Also, by not eating the skin, you can cut nearly half the amount of fat in your turkey serving. Canned foods tend to have high levels of sodium and/or sugar, so if possible, make dishes such as cranberry sauce and green bean casserole, using fresh fruits and vegetables.
More: PDF: Holiday Health Tips
If your family likes to snack on appetizers before the big meal, offer less-filling, nutritious options like fruit and vegetable trays. Many people tend to ‘graze’ around the food table even after the main meal, mindlessly eating past the point of fullness. To avoid this, be sure to put the food away shortly after the meal has been served.
Encourage the family to get outside for walk in the neighborhood after the meal or engage in some form of physical activity to further improve how you feel after the Thanksgiving feast.
Cone Health understands the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to increase and ensure overall well-being, and has an exceptional team of dieticians, physicians, nurses and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating our community on proper nutrition and other beneficial lifestyle choices.
Dr. Jeannie Sykes is a registered dietitian at Cone Health Family Medicine Center. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Vermont in 1976, and a Masters of Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1980. Dr. Sykes earned a PhD in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1986. She has worked at Cone Health Family Medicine Center since 1990.