Wednesday Wellness: Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers to Healthy Living

How could we approach this week’s Wednesday Wellness without acknowledging Thanksgiving? Right now, as you are reading this, let’s think about what we are thankful for. WHO are you thankful for? HOW do you show your gratitude?

In our day to day lives, we could easily go through our lives without giving this a second thought given the nature of our busy lives. I hope that’s not too often the case; but this Thanksgiving, I’d like to suggest you start your day with writing down 10-20 things you are grateful and/or thankful for. Sit in silence and really think about this.

Then, if the spirit moves you, sometime throughout the day, share a couple of items on that list with someone you love. Speaking of gratitude is one of the most liberating moments we can experience!

Of course, health is something to be thankful for, so how can I leave you, on this indulgent day, without an action plan on how to eliminate getting over fed.

Here's a couple of things you can do to cut the calories on Thanksgiving!

Traditional Menu Adjusted Menu Calories Saved
6 oz. Eggnog 6 oz. Champagne 350 calories
2 oz. cheese on 4 Ritz crackers 1 oz. pretzels 150 calories
1/4 cup sour cream dip on raw vegetables Vegetables alone 150 calories
2 glasses wine 1 glass wine and diet soda 120 calories
6 oz. turkey breast No change ------
1 cup steamed vegetables no change ------
1 baked sweet potato 1/2 baked sweet potato 120 calories
1 cup stuffing 1 cup fat free stuffing 240 calories
¼ cup traditional cranberry sauce ¼ cup low cal cranberry sauce (see below) 60-100 calories
1 tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon butter 90 calories
Salad with 2 Tablespoon dressing Salad with 1 tsp dressing and balsamic vinegar 100+ calories
Apple pie ala mode (with premium ice cream) Fat reduced fruit crisp (with fat free frozen yogurt) 350 calories
Total Calories: 3,150 Total Calories: 1,385 Total Calories Saved: 1,765

Try one of these low calorie alterations for cranberry sauce:

Cranberry sauce

Option 1 Yield: 6 servings 1 Apple 1 Navel orange; peeled 2c Fresh or frozen cranberries; ½ts Ground coriander; 2pk Equal sweetener (4 tsp);

Shred the apple in a food processor or with a hand grater. Quarter the orange and combine with the cranberries in a food processor or food grinder. Process until coarsely chopped. Blend the apples, cranberry mixture, coriander, and sweetener together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 1/2 cup serving - 39 calories, 1/2 fruit exchange, 10 grams carbohydrate, 0 pro, 0 fat, 0 sodium, 88 potassium, 0 cholesterol. Source: American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook

Option 2 Heat ¼ cup sugar in a sauté pan over medium heat until golden. Add 1 lime and orange- diced, skin and all- and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger, 1 cinnamon stick and 6 cloves. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Add a 1-pound bag of cranberries, cooking until they begin to pop. Cool and refrigerate.

Other variations for popular Thanksgiving foods:

Stuffing Add in extra fillers like celery, onions, apples and raisins. Choose low sodium broth instead of butter too! By doing this, you’ll reduce nearly 200 calories in a ½ cup serving!!

Gravy A typical serving of gravy from the turkey drippings has over 200 calories. If you choose the all-natural turkey gravy from Whole foods or Target, you can enjoy a yummy variation at only 35 kcals!

Vegetables Instead of pouring olive oil on your veggies, purchase a “miso” sprayer and lightly spritz extra virgin olive oil on your veggies…you can save over 100 kcals per serving!

Additional helpful hints to keep the pounds away during the holiday season:

1.     Take a 30 minute walk after dinner. This will help you digest the food and you won’t be so quick to grab the desserts and continue the eating frenzy!

2.     Bring a low cal appetizer or salad that you can have to support your weight loss and fitness efforts.

3.     Consider a turkey trot 5 or 10K for charity the morning of Thanksgiving.

4.     If at a party, fill a plate with appetizers rather than standing and munching. This will give you a reality check on how much you are really eating!

5.     Discriminate which foods you will eat. Don’t waste your calories on every day fare. Choose the foods which you might not try again anytime soon.

6.     Be aware that nuts, most dips and cheeses are loaded with calories. Choose veggies over the higher calorie foods.

7.     Although you will be busy during this season; create a rule: never let 3 days go by without exercising. Keep your hard earned habit going!

8.     If you want something “Extra” instead of eating it because it’s there, put it on a side plate and take it home to eat when you are actually hungry!

9.     In addition to the 30 minute walk after the meal; try and go for a harder than usual workout before your big holiday begins!

10.   Make the holidays about family, friends, and socializing; not about food!

Enjoy the beauty of the season and be Thankful for everything you can enjoy!