Keep it Skinny: Thanksgiving Thoughts

By Denise Albert

I have some wonderful memories of family Thanksgivings but I also have a few, well, not so wonderful and frankly uncomfortable recollections of Thanksgivings past. Namely over eating. That old cliche of having to unbutton my pants? Been there, done that. As children, so often we heard “eat EVERYTHING on your plate” and “would you like seconds?” instead of being encouraged to eat in moderation. This is especially true at Thanksgiving. That feeling of overeating is never rewarding, really, and I hate to have it at any time but we are almost encouraged to gorge ourselves at the Thanksgiving Feast. If you are needing some ideas on how to slow your appetite this Thanksgiving I have some for you and the whole family!

1. Start with something hot! Research shows that consuming something warm can decrease the appetite. Welcome guests with a cup of hot tea or cider or start your meal with a hot broth based soup. If you are going to a family or friends for Thanksgiving offer to bring a soup to start the meal. If you need a recipe for a nice Vegetable Soup check out this recipe on my blog or the one below for a Spicy Veg and Cannelloni Bean Soup (posted at end of blog).

2. After filling up with something hot, munch on a crudités plate. Crudités are assorted raw vegetables served as an hors d'oeuvre, typically with a sauce into which they may be dipped. You can remember this French word by the pronunciation— Crude-Eat-Tease (think raw or crude vegetables which you eat to tease your tastebuds). Eat all of the non-starchy veg you can! Carrots, broccoli, and long green beans are perfect and full of water, nutrition, and fiber to fill your belly and make your eyes feel less hungry.

3. Fill half your Thanksgiving plate with vegetables. If there is a leafy green salad, great! Popular Thanksgiving vegetables can include saucy additions such as green bean casserole, for instance. While you want to avoid heavy gravies and cheese toppings, you can add small portions of these vegetables to your leafy salad and it will look like you have more when you actually have less.

4. Be careful with the gravy-- sure, what would Thanksgiving be without the gravy but be careful not to drown your food with it as it is loaded with calorie rich fat, not to mention salt. Take a tablespoon and spoon on your gravy instead of pouring it over. If there is a serving ladle for the gravy great! A serving ladle full is typically ¼ cup.

5. Calories add up fast with alcoholic or sugary drinks such as soda. Keep yourself to one glass if you can and try to replace these high calorie drinks with seltzer water and juice-- I call them my POM juice spitzer. Sip on these for the rest of the day/evening. Kids can drink this creation too. My kiddos enjoy it all the time and best of all, it helps cut down their sugar consumption.

6. Typically added fat such as cheeses, butters for bread, creamy dressings, and dips aren't needed to get the full flavor of the food. When possible pass on those pesky calorie dense spreads. If you need a dressing on a salad consider cutting it with some water so you get the flavor but fewer calories.

7. Another trick is to add spicy heat to your meal. Perhaps add peppers to your appetizer or broth based soup. Hot spices prolong the feeling of fullness!

Spicy Veg and Cannelloni Bean Soup

Ingredients 2 16oz containers of low sodium chicken broth (vegetable broth is great here as well for a vegan soup)

2 medium carrots chopped

1 stalk celery

1 medium onion

2 cans Cannelloni Beans

1 tsp lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice into pot

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or more to your liking

salt and pepper to taste Steps

Sauté chopped vegetables with 1 TBS of high quality olive oil. Add broth, beans, and lemon juice and bring it to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, add lemon zest to keep its bright flavor and add cayenne pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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