Face it -- November is usually synonymous with an abundance of eating and lack of exercise. Thanksgiving is a time for celebration and family. This is not a time to binge on your favorite meals and throw away all your goals. On the other hand, this is also not a time for deprivation either. When Thanksgiving rolls around it's like you lose focus and throw out the plan? Why? Here are some things I have always kept in mind when approaching Thanksgiving. - Exercise... Don't stop training because it is the week of Thanksgiving. Continue on plan and even make sure you do some sort of exercise on Thanksgiving day. Chances are if you keep exercise in the regimen you will make better choices when it comes to food because you are more conscious about good health decisions. - Don't Starve Yourself To Make Room... I used to hear this a lot when I worked in health clubs. "Oh, I'm making room for Thanksgiving so I'm just not going to eat until later." "I'm going to not have carbs all week so I can eat all my favorites on Thanksgiving." This is not smart. Actually, it is a proven way for you to make bad decisions when it is time to eat and more than likely you will over consume. Have you ever went grocery shopping hungry? Yeah, not a good idea. - Don't Use Thanksgiving As An Excuse To Binge... "I'm just going to eat whatever I want all day and start fresh tomorrow." That quickly turns south. So don't try it. You probably will end up putting off 'tomorrow' until next year. This is not a day to just binge out on all your favorites. This is more of a day to practice self control and good decision making. You can have your favorites but in moderation. - Don't track the day... I love to track my food everyday. So this one is a huge one for me. Let this day be a day where we are not on a strict meal plan. This will allow us to not be busy weighing food, stressing about calories/macros, and missing the opportunity to spend quality time with family. Don't plug your meals in myfitness pal or trying to swap meals out on your meal plan. Call it an non-tracked day. But with this comes great responsibility. That means it becomes a smart choice day, and a portion control day. - Fill Up On Good Vegetables... When good vegetables are what we fill up on chances are we won't make that extra trip for another slice of Grandma's apple pie. - Make Health Conscious Decisions On Carbohydrates... You love your sisters mashed potatoes but you have to have dressing too. Well that is fine but make sure that you use good judgement in portions. There is no such thing as free calories. They all come with a price.
Here are some healthy alternatives to some Thanksgiving favorites:
SLOW COOKER CORNBREAD DRESSING
Ingredients: 4 tbsp. butter 1 medium-sized white onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced 4 ribs celery, diced ½ tsp. kosher salt ½ tsp. poultry seasoning one pan of Southern cornbread (substitute rice flour or all-purpose GF flour for the wheat flour in the recipe) 6 slices gluten-free sandwich bread, cut into 1" squares 2 c. chicken broth ⅓ c. half and half 1 egg cayenne pepper to taste, optional
Instructions: 1) Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery, and saute for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Stir in salt and poultry seasoning, and turn off heat. Crumble cornbread into a large mixing bowl, and add cubed sandwich bread. Stir in butter and vegetables. 2) Add two cups of broth, and stir well. 3) Whisk egg and half and half together in a measuring cup (plus cayenne pepper if desired), and stir into cornbread. 4) Spray crock of slow cooker VERY well with cooking spray, and pour in cornbread mixture. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
HEALTHY APPLE CRISP
Ingredients: 3 medium baking apples, cored, sliced thin 1 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp flour
Topping: 1 cup quick oats 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 Tbsp heart-healthy margarine
Instructions: 1) Mix first four ingredients and place into 9-inch (square or round) baking dish. 2) In small bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the apples. 3) Bake at 325 degrees until apples are soft and topping is golden brown (about 30 minutes).