Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Unlike Christmas, there’s no added stress caused from elbowing your way through crowded shopping malls, trying to decide on the perfect gift for someone. The only thing I need to worry about is eating, which is just fine by me!
It was around this time last year that I first started to contemplate becoming a vegetarian. After learning a few things in school, talking to friends, and doing some research of my own, I decided I was going to cut down significantly on my meat consumption and attempt to only purchase organic meat products. After purchasing a small organic chicken breast for a whopping $8.11, I decided meat didn’t really fit my budget anymore and vowed to cut it out of my life entirely. But Thanksgiving was just around the corner. My parents had even gone to the trouble of buying a fresh, organic turkey from a local butcher, as they knew how much I loved Thanksgiving. So, I decided I would eat the bird. While I have to admit it tasted delicious, I’ve decided I’m sticking to my morals this year and will not be eating turkey.
However, I did go out and buy a Tofurky roast! Though the sodium content is less than desirable, it contains no saturated or trans fat, no cholesterol, and is very high in protein. A 5oz serving also provides 130% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin B12 – something which vegetarians and vegans often have difficulty consuming enough of. The cashier gave me a not-so-subtle look of disgust when I walked up to the counter to pay for it, but my best friend promises me that it actually tastes pretty good. I guess I will find out tomorrow at our family dinner!
I know most people look forward to Thanksgiving because it’s a chance for them to stuff themselves silly, but here’s an eye-opening fun-fact that might have you think twice about filling up your plate for seconds.. and maybe thirds..
The average Thanksgiving meal contains 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat.
This might seem somewhat shocking, but it makes sense when you factor in pre-dinner appetizers and snacks.. added sauces and condiments, such as butter and gravy.. two helpings of pumpkin pie or other desserts.. Yikes.
For those of you that have not yet had your Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind which will help you to avoid over-indulging in delicious holiday goodies:
1) Eat a light, healthy lunch beforehand. Don’t try to “fast and feast”.
2) If your family likes to snack before dinner on appetizers and other finger foods, try bringing healthy munchies such as raw veggies and low-fat dip.
3) Drink a big glass of water before sitting down to dinner. It will help you feel fuller before you actually start to dig in.
4) When piling your plate with food, start with the healthiest items first. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables. Potatoes or other veggies smothered with butter, gravy and salt don’t count. My aunt and uncle like to bring a variety of steamed vegetables to our dinner, such as spinach, mushrooms, beans, broccoli and carrots. I try to make sure half of my plate is heaped with some of each before moving on to the stuffing and turkey (or in this case, Tofurky).
5) Rest for at least 20 minutes after finishing your first plate. Socialize! Relax! Let your brain register that you have eaten – you will be less likely to head up for seconds.
6) It would be unrealistic for me to say you can’t eat dessert, because I myself am a dessert fanatic. If possible, try to opt for healthier options, such as fresh fruit and yogurt. If you absolutely, positively MUST have a slice of pumpkin pie, cut yourself a slice that is 50% smaller than what you would usually take.
7) Instead of crashing on the couch after dinner, try getting some people together to do some form of exercise. Sprinting would probably be a bad idea, but a nice leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood might be nice? My family usually likes to play road hockey. Gotta love being Canadian, eh? ;)
I hope you all have a safe, happy, healthy Thanksgiving weekend!
Be Well xo