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05/19/2017
When it comes to Thanksgiving, we have a love-hate relationship going on. We love that it’s a time for feasts, family and food. But all of that bounty makes it awfully hard to stay on track with our health and fitness goals. After years of being told to “finish our plates”, “take seconds” and “make room for dessert” – well, we don’t want to disappoint any one by passing up any of the offerings on our table of harvest. We would never advise to skip Thanksgiving or sculpt turkey out of tofu. Even if you charge the buffet and fall asleep satiated with a full belly, we’ll still love you. However, food for thought, with a little bit of moderation and modification, you can healthify your Thanksgiving table without your family or friends being the wiser.

Beverage Time!

  • Ditch the soda and go for fruit infused water.
  • For kids, consider chocolate milk instead of soda.
  • If alcohol is part of your adult plan, opt for lower calorie beer and wines such as Coors Light or Miller Lite, or a Pinot Noir or Cabernet for wine drinkers.
  • Try to avoid the high calorie, high carbohydrate, high fat mixers and drinks.

Turkey, Ham or Beef

  • Delicious, filling and low in carbohydrates and calories, and high in protein – if you can, try to build your holiday meal around this protein to reduce your servings of all of the side dishes and sauces that make you fall asleep on the couch and feel uncomfortable.

Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes are a great option. Bake with the skins on and serve with butter, cinnamon and stevia. You don’t need the marshmallows or sugar to make this a delicious side dish.
  • Mashed potatoes – a classic side dish. While high in carbohydrates and calories, minimize portion size and gravy servings to keep this treat in moderation.
  • Cauliflower fake-out. If you are counting calories and carbohydrates, a cauliflower mash has the same as potatoes and gets pretty darn close in flavor once you add the butter, salt, pepper and gravy. Just steam a head of cauliflower, puree it in a food processor until it is small crumbles and then follow your favorite mashed potato recipe. To get even more fancy, add 2 cups pumpkin puree, ¼ cup heavy cream, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 4 tablespoons butter for a pumpkin-cauliflower side dish!

Stuffing

  • What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing. For a healthier option, try substituting your bread crumbs, croutons, and bread base with a low carb option. Weight Watchers and Atkins both have low carb bread products. We make ours with 1 medium, cut onion sautéed in 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 ½ cup celery, ½ tsp salt, 4 tsps sage, 1 tsp fennel seed ½ cup parsley, 3 eggs, 1 14.5 oz can of chicken or vegetable stock and 2 lbs of ground pork, sausage and mushrooms. We sauté the veggies, add chicken broth pour it all into a buttered casserole and bake at 350F for :40.

Cranberry Sauce

  • The general rule of thumb is if something comes from a can, jar or bottle – try to avoid it. Canned cranberries are loaded with sugar. Homemade cranberry sauce is easy, cheap and only about 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Plus, your inlaws will be amazed that you made it. Recipe: Combine two (2) 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of water, ½ cup fresh orange juice OR ¾ cup pineapple juice (not concentrate as its loaded with high fructose corn syrup), the zest of 1 orange, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce in a sauce pan and boil it for :15 over high heat – steering frequently. Mash the cranberries a bit to make it more like a jelly consistency. Remove from heat, add Stevia or Truvia to adjust sweetness. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It is literally that simple.

Salads and Sides

  • Consider offering healthier side options to balance the choices offered. Salads including kale, romaine, spinach offer your guests a choice with fiber. 
  • Try to mix it up with different veggie options. Roasted broccoli with olive oil, salt and pepper, baked brussel sprouts with a gruyere/cheese cheese top layer, roasted calamarie, spicy pepper and tomatoe side dish.

Dessert

  • Pies, cakes and cheese/fruit platters. Give your guests healthy options along with traditional favorites.  For healthier versions, substitute crusts with almond flour varieties and add stevia vs. sugar to the fillings.

To learn more about Connected Health and Athletic Republic’s healthy cooking classes, fitness classes and personal training for adult and youth competitive, endurance and recreational athletes, please call us at 724-933-4300. Visit us at www.athleticrepublicpittsburgh.com www.chforu.com