Thanksgiving: a time to celebrate with friends and family. A time to figure out how to sneak in extra helpings of Grandma’s buttermilk pie. With a health-conscious America on the rise, planning for the holiday now means learning how to stay away from the second helping of Grandma’s buttermilk pie and include more of what’s good for us.
To help us get through it, Georgia Giannopoulos, RD-AP, CDN, CNSC, manager of health & well-being at NewYork-Presbyterian, shares tips for a healthy Thanksgiving:
• Take a Trot: Go for a walk, turkey trot, or bicycle ride outdoors on Thanksgiving morning if the weather is nice. If your physical activity is limited, consider sitting outside for a few minutes or sitting by a window to enjoy the fall foliage.
• Pack a Snack: If you are traveling, bring healthy snacks with you for the road and/or plane to save time (and money) and ensure that you do not have to go long periods of time without food.
• Substitute Salt: To reduce the amount of sodium in recipes, use herbs and spices instead of salt. For example, parsley, rosemary, thyme and/or sage pair well with turkey.
• Counting Carbs: For fewer carbohydrates, opt for a baked sweet potato instead of marshmallowed sweet potatoes, which are often made with added brown sugar.
• Watch the Labels: When it comes to foods that may have been sitting in the refrigerator or pantry for too long, be mindful of food safety guidelines. No one wants to get food poisoning any day, especially on a holiday! Not sure if a food is still safe to eat? Check the expiration date, and when in doubt, throw it out.
• What if I’m a Vegetarian?: Many of the Bs and Cs are in season in November, and make wonderful additions to a Thanksgiving meal including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and three of my favorites: beets, brussels sprouts and collard greens.
• Gluten-Free Options: Thanksgiving staples like turkey, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts are naturally gluten-free, but sometimes they’re mixed with gluten-containing ingredients or prepped in a kitchen where there’s cross-contamination. For a safe gluten-free option, bring your favorite gluten-free dish to share!