Picture this; a feast has been prepared and has been laid out across massive tables for all to see. A feast that the Kings of yesterday would be proud to serve their visiting dignitaries. Turkey and hams baked to perfection, potatoes prepared three ways, eight varieties of vegetables boiled, sautéed, baked and grilled. Gravy, cranberries, pies, pastries, bread, butter and pickle trays set out to fill the gaps on the plates.
Sometimes these feasts are made for plenty…most often though for a family of four and a couple of guests.
Thanksgiving has historically been a meal that brings out the Julia Childs in all of us in the kitchen and the Martha Stewart in the presentation.
The original gathering to give thanks was a community feast, a party for many to enjoy and all brought forward everything that they had to be thankful for. Two communities in fact would gather to give their thanks.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the thanks is still there, the gathering is there and the feast…oh yeah, it’s still there. But instead of playing games outdoors, gathering wood for the winter, making blankets and storing food we lay down on the couch and complain about how much food we ate and how uncomfortable we are. And inside us our bodies are trying to figure out where to put monstrous amounts of fat, sugar and salt.
Sound familiar? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, enjoy your gathering and the feast you see before you, but follow these tips for a better after meal experience.
- Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.
- Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one-quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
- You are full when: Your brain takes about 20 minutes to recognize your belly is full. In that 20 minutes you can do a lot of over stuffing!
- Turkey – go skinless: choose your 4 to 6-oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol, (about the size of your hand).
- Side Dishes – watch your portion size: go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
- Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.
- Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee dehydrate your body. Drink water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
Give thanks that you are healthy and can share this time with friends and family.
Give thanks that you are smart enough to make the right choices! Again–this is not the Last Supper!!
Hey, take a look at the two new recipes on the recipe page in honour of Thanksgiving!! Click Here