Thanksgiving is generally known as the holiday of eating large amounts of rich, heavy food. As you age, this fatty feast can end up being more of a burden than a blessing, leaving you uncomfortably full for the rest of the day. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, visiting family, or enjoying a restaurant-style meal at a senior living community, you can make adjustments to make your Thanksgiving meal more healthy and enjoyable. Brightwater Senior Living has compiled a list of simple tips for a more body-gentle Thanksgiving celebration.
Make Healthy Substitutions
If you’re making your own meal or helping out a friend or family member, you can experiment with healthier ingredients in classic Thanksgiving dishes. Try making mashed potatoes with Greek yogurt or low-fat milk instead of cream or sour cream. Substitute almond slivers for fried onions in your green bean casserole. Swap out the white rolls for whole wheat. You can make all these changes or just some of them – every little bit counts.
Focus on Your Food
It sounds counter intuitive, but during a bustling Thanksgiving meal, it can be easy to get lost in conversations with the people around you and barely taste what you’re eating. If you decide to join a conversation, put down your fork and pick up your drink instead. This will help you slow down, prevent yourself from overeating, and make sure that when you are eating, you’re actually enjoying it.
It’s a good idea to have a small, healthy breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, but try to stay clear of charcuterie boards and bowls of chips in the hours leading up to the big meal. Even if you fill up on appetizers, you’re likely to eat the same amount you planned on anyway. Stick to raw veggies if you need something to tide you over, but don’t overdo it.
Start with Small Portions
You want to enjoy everything that’s presented at Thanksgiving, and that’s usually a lot. Rather than avoiding some of your favorites, or piling your plate high, treat yourself to a small serving of everything. You can always go back for more later. Just make sure you leave a little room for a taste of dessert. It’s Thanksgiving after all.
We hope we were able to give you some good ideas for celebrating a health-conscious Thanksgiving. For more articles on health, wellness, and activities, visit the Brightwater blog.