How Does A Nutritionist Do Thanksgiving?
By Jackie Cartier
November 21, 2016
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as we gear up to spend time with family and friends our thoughts undoubtedly turn to ... eating! It's the holiday of food and with it comes all sorts of food preferences. If your family and friends aren't interested, or aware of, the Weight and Wellness Way of eating real food, enjoying a big meal together can bring some stress. Thoughts like "What will I eat?" "Will there be anything gluten free?" "How am I going to avoid all those preservative full foods without offending anyone?" spring to mind.
To help you out we've polled many of our Nutritional Weight & Wellness nutritionists on what they do when faced with those exact questions. Without further ado, here are their answers.
- For breakfast the day of I make the Nutritional Weight & Wellness Blueberry Oat Muffins, but I substitute one can of pumpkin for the blueberries and add a teaspoon of pumpkin spice. This ensures my kiddos and any guests get a good start to the day. I serve it with a slice of quiche or egg bake. Teresa Wagner, RD, LD
- I always try to offer to bring a veggie tray (my family always calls it a relish tray), but I make it look like a turkey. We serve it with our homemade ranch dip, and everyone loves it. Shelby Hummel, MS, LN
- I often bring the salad and make it something that's not traditionally associated with those heavy carb-loaded Thanksgiving dishes. It lightens things up and fills a plate with good, healthy, light veggie carbs. Just thinking off the top of my head, a fun salad to bring on Thanksgiving could include Bibb lettuce, radicchio, diced Napa cabbage, scallions, and yellow and orange peppers all on a bed of arugula. I always make my own salad dressing using a light vinegar like rice or champagne vinegar along with a Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and any fresh herbs like dill or chives. I suggest a ratio of 1 tablespoon vinegar to about 3 tablespoons olive oil for the dressing. Kate Crosby, BS, CNP
- In addition to the salad, I also bring roasted Bosc pears for dessert. Topped with whipped cream and roasted or raw pecans, it's so good! I slice pears into eighths and drizzle with a light olive oil, place on cookie sheet, roast at 375 degrees, turning them over individually so that each piece gets brown. Serve with the aforementioned whipped cream and nuts. You'll love it. Kate Crosby, BS, CNP
- If you have a food sensitivity, such as a gluten sensitivity, and you want to make a homemade gluten free version of your favorite pie, cookie, stuffing, or corn bread, make sure to try out the new recipe at least once before the big day. You don't want to be stressing out over a mushy pie crust just as guests are arriving. Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD
- Whatever you do on Thanksgiving do not skip breakfast or lunch beforehand thinking you are going to eat too much at the main meal of the day. This will only set you up to crave all the wrong things at your Thanksgiving meal. Instead, eat your normal balanced breakfast and lunch and you'll arrive satisfied with balanced blood sugar. Carolyn Suerth Hudson RDN, LD
- Think about how to make your go-to Thanksgiving dishes healthier. My family always has green bean casserole but the canned cream of mushroom soup and fried onions on top are very processed. Instead I make homemade cream of mushroom soup with heavy cream and fresh mushrooms and use fresh green beans. People rave about it. Britni Thomas, RD, LD
- Think ahead about your indulgences. Enjoy the one-time-a-year foods, like stuffing or pumpkin pie and pass on the foods that are more ordinary, like breads, corn, or potatoes. Alyssa O'Brien, RD, LD
- I always make the Nutritional Weight & Wellness Sweet Potato Mash recipe for Thanksgiving. It's super simple; mix steamed sweet potatoes (about four cups) with 1 tablespoon butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup coconut milk and 2 eggs. On special occasions I top it with chopped pecans and coconut. I bring this dish along when we are invited to homes of family members. I also make a salad or a vegetable to take along. That way, I'll have turkey, the veggies are covered, and I don't have to go near the dreadful green bean casserole. JoAnn Ridout, MPH, RD, LD
- I have a couple salads I really love but rarely make for everyday-at-home-eating. Instead, I save these recipes and make them when I have to bring a dish to share at the holidays. One of my favorites is the Tossed Spinach Salad in the Weight & Wellness Way Cookbook and another is my own concoction of wild rice, cranberries and pecans. I serve up a healthy portion for myself and eat that instead of dessert and I truly consider it a treat. Cassie Weness, LD, RD
- Sometimes I bring a chilled bottle of my favorite Kombucha to Thanksgiving. I pour it into a wine glass and have my own fun, but healthy, beverage that helps me not be tempted to drink wine. Cassie Weness, LD, RD
That's a wrap! Will you try any of these ideas or recipes this Thanksgiving or do you have your own plan to stay healthy and balanced for the upcoming holidays? Please share, the more the merrier as far as we are concerned. And finally, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your family and enjoy every bite!
Interested in more ideas for a healthy Thanksgiving? Read additional tips and tricks to stay on track: