Getting ready for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?  Dreaming of stuffing yourself with stuffing?  A juicy, fat turkey?  Marshmallow sweet potatoes?  Buttery rolls and mashed potatoes?  Pumpkin pie?  These all sound great, sure, but they’re not so great for your body; certainly not so wonderful for your weight loss, or weight maintenance goals.

Here are some tips, some things I plan to do for our family Thanksgiving.  These are easy, simple ideas and no one will notice you’re getting “healthier” on them!

  • At the supermarket or grocery, take a planned list instead of impulse buying.  Remember that you’re being mindful and conscious, caring about yourself, friends and family.  This holiday is about giving thanks, not all about food and indulgence.  Yes it’s about thanking God for abundance, but that doesn’t mean it’s a license for food abuse or addictive behaviors.

  • Turkey:  instead of deep frying a turkey (oh my God), or serving a high-fat bird, first buy a turkey that’s has no oil or butter injected into it.  If you can afford it, buy a small, free-range or organic turkey.  Fresh tastes better than frozen.  Roast it on a rack, instead of in a pan of greasy drippings.  Brine the turkey with a salt-water mixture of a cup of salt to a gallon of water: soak it overnight or for a few hours.  Baste it with a non-fat bouillon broth, instead of its own drippings, every 30-45 minutes of roasting.

  • Gravy:  Make it from a non-fat bouillon broth, instead of the turkey’s own drippings.  Use non-fat milk instead of high fat.  Use whole-wheat flour instead of bleached white. Don’t forget to make a “roux,” a flour and milk paste, before adding all the flour — this will make for excellent, non-lumpy gravy.

  • Mashed potatoes:  Instead of saturating them with tons of butter, use some flavorful herbs, such as fresh parsley, dill, or marjoram sprinkled on top. Use fat-free milk instead of whole.  If you really must have butter, only drop ¼ of a pat on top of a serving of the mashed potatoes.  This gives that buttery taste, without so much of it marbled-into the potatoes.

  • Sweet potatoes:  They’re sweet as is!  That’s why they’re called “sweet’ potatoes.  You really don’t need to add extra sugar, such as brown sugar (often ordinary sugar that’s got coloring added) or marshmallows.  Again, only drop ¼ of a pat on top of a serving of the sweet potatoes, directly to the plate.  If you must, put only 3 marshmallows on top.

  • Stuffing: use whole-wheat bread, instead of white.  Avoid much oil or butter.  Use a mixture of non-fat milk and water for moistening instead.  Chock it full of vegetables, such as diced celery, carrots, onion, peppers, even try a tomato for a different flavor that’s delicious.  Bake it covered.  Try to resist the urge to actually stuff it in the bird, as that soaks up a lot of very fattening drippings unnecessarily.  Use lots of herbs, especially fresh sage and parsley, or even oregano.

  • Rolls and biscuits.  Make rolls, instead of biscuits (as they’re mostly fat marbled into flour).  Make the rolls whole-wheat, so you’re getting some whole grains.

  • Desserts:  try baked apples with a little honey drizzled on top.  Make a pumpkin pie with a whole-wheat crust, substituting non-fat evaporated milk (unsweetened).  Use stevia sweetener instead of sugar.  Serve fruit instead of dessert; sorbet or ice-milk sherbet instead of  whipped cream or full-fat ice-cream.

  • Above all: limit portions.  Keep servings small.  Have only ONE (1) plate of food, and eat very, very slowly.

  • Drink a big glass of water before and after the meal.

  • Have a glass of hot tea before the dinner.

  • Skip all appetizers.  If you must have some, serve some hummus instead of cheese, or fattening spreads.  Have vegetables (crudités) to dip with instead of crackers.

Finally, remember to sincerely give thanks to God, or your Higher Power, for all you have.  Think of your true abundance, and how fortunate you are to be alive.  This way, you won’t feel so ravenous.

After the meal, go for a long walk with your loved ones.

I wish you a wonderful holiday.

*** PLEASE COMMENT — what are YOU cooking, sharing, eating for Thanksgiving this year?***

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