The holidays are a time to enjoy your favorite foods, drinks, and being with loved ones! At NextGeneration Nutrition, being on a diet means having a balanced and healthy eating lifestyle which does not involve restriction and missing out on your favorite foods. While it is important to enjoy your favorite foods while celebrating with your family and friends, we also don’t want you to feel stuffed, bloated, low on energy, or stray far from your health goals. This can eventually lead to subsequent crash dieting and the vicious cycle continues. Here are a couple of Thanksgiving meal swaps to help you through the holiday season while still keeping on track with your health goals!
Although candied yams are made with sweet potatoes which are packed with important nutrients such as vitamin A and fiber, don’t let that fool you into thinking it is a healthy dish! Candied yams usually involve using a large amount of butter, marshmallows, and brown sugar. To make this dish healthier, leave out the marshmallows as yams are already naturally sweet! If you need extra sweetener, try adding 100% maple syrup and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon for flavor. For a low-carb option try cauliflower mashed potatoes which are low in starch, low in calories, and packed with nutrients!
Eggnog is a favorite holiday drink containing alcohol, eggs, sugar, and milk. Typically, it can have around 21 grams of sugar per serving! For a healthier version, you can make it yourself and use other natural sweeteners like monk fruit sweetener or stevia. If you are only looking for store-bought eggnog, Califa Farms makes an Almond Nog which is plant-based eggnog with about 1/3 of the amount of sugar per serving. If you are looking to substitute with another alcoholic beverage, red wine contains a beneficial antioxidant, resveratrol, which has heart health benefits as it prevents blood vessel damage. Always remember to stay hydrated while drinking alcoholic beverages.
Stuffing is a Thanksgiving side dish staple and my personal favorite on the menu! Store-bought stuffing is usually prepared with butter, cubes of white bread, and loads of salt. You can make your own healthy stuffing by sauteing celery, onions, and other vegetables in olive oil. Instead of white bread, try wholemeal bread for extra fiber and flavor. Then combine and moisten with low sodium chicken broth and add your favorite herbs and bake!
Typically, store-bought cranberry sauce is full of sugar, corn syrup, and other added sweeteners which can spike your blood sugar and can even cause you to eat more. Instead of buying cranberries in a can, you can simply make it yourself! At this time of year, most stores have fresh cranberries available, and making your own cranberry sauce can be done in minutes! If you are making your own, avoid using excess sugar and try sweetening them with 100% maple syrup or honey.