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Turkey Day Challenge: Does Your Holiday Meal Need A Makeover?

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES November 20, 2014Pearls of Wisdom Blog

The great American columnist Erma Bombeck said it best: “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”

Have you ever gobbled up so much food at Thanksgiving that you were about to bust? Do you sample every dish on the table? Are you a cancer survivor trying to maintain a healthy weight?

If you can identify with 1 or more of these questions, then it may be time for a Turkey Day Makeover in your approach to the feast. Check out these Makeover strategies.

Take time to chew. Have a fruit appetizer or a garden salad before the meal. You’ll feel a little full and may eat less. Plus the antioxidants and phytochemicals in fruits and veggies help lessen future cancer risk. Enjoy each bite it’s a day of gratefulness.

Unleash your inner creativity. Play some games between the meal and dessert. Have a blast with a scavenger hunt, board games, or charades. Taking timeout between the main course and dessert often slows down your eating speed. When you slow down, you may eat less!

Roast your foods, instead of frying or making rich casseroles. Use parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil to use less oil in the roasting process. You save calories and the real taste of the food. Frying masks the natural food flavor with the breading or frying oil.

Kraft your menu into 2 days instead of one big feast. Start this new tradition. Have half of the high-calorie dishes on Thanksgiving, and the other half on the weekend. You’ll consume half the calories and still feel energized enough to include physical activity like a family game of football, walk in the neighborhood, or putting up Christmas decorations.

Enjoy time with your family and friends while celebrating. Spend quality time with folks while washing dishes, putting away the leftovers, and relaxing after the meal. Focus more on family and not so much on food.

Yes to smaller portions. Pre-portion some foods in the kitchen. Use smaller serving spoons. Try a smaller 5-inch plate instead of a 10-inch dinner plate. Switch to small holiday glassware instead of jumbo tumblers for that sweet tea or punch. Serve in smaller casserole dishes or platters. Doing these things helps you choose smaller portions.

For more tips on how to make over your Thanksgiving meal, check out our Facebook page or Pinterest board.

Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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