It is every dieters biggest nightmare. It has ruined more diets than the invention of the Chinese Buffet. It happens every year, and every year it bites us in the butt. That day is of course, Groundhog Day!
OK, maybe not. Thanksgiving is the toughest day of the year for most people trying to lose weight. It is like the Super Bowl for a gambler, or New Years Eve for an alcoholic.
This is my first Thanksgiving while on my new lifestyle. I am not too concerned, because I made a commitment to myself that I will not treat any holiday like a holiday. I will eat the same no matter what.
But, there are so many others who have worked hard all year long, and they think that Thanksgiving can be beaten. Well, it can’t! You have to ignore it, but don’t try to fight it. If you try to stand up to Thanksgiving, it will knock you down. Oh, the leftovers, Turkey legs, casseroles, cranberry sauce, pies.
And it is not like it is portion controlled. All the food is out there for the taking! “Help Yourself” is what everyone will say.
It is also one of the only holidays where eating a lot is encouraged. If you try to eat less, you feel like a outcast. I have heard of people who do walks and runs that day. That is a good compromise to a dessert. But for the 99% of people who are not going to do that, pigging out is the only option.
So I am going to try to help a little. Although I am a chef, I do not like putting recipes on my blog. But, I am going to put some helpful ideas and substitutions to help get through this beast of a holiday. And to think, the Pilgrims ate turkey and corn before, two healthy items.
1. Pick what is the most important to you– When you are looking at all the food in front of you, pick what you can do with or without. In other words, if you “kind-of” like mashed potatoes, stay away! If you really like Mom’s meatloaf, have a piece. By doing this, you can really limit the amount of calories you have on your plate, and still enjoy your meal.
2. Make a vegetable dish– Whether you are cooking for people, or going to some one’s home, make a vegetable dish for everyone to enjoy. The best vegetables to use are broccoli, squash, zucchini, or mushrooms. When cooking the vegetables, use seasonings like garlic, salt, rosemary, and thyme. Also, try to steam the vegetables in a soup stock (Vegetable, Beef, or Chicken) for added flavor.
3. Skin is not healthy– You already know this, but hear it again. Try to eat the white meat of the turkey. The dark meat and skin are not going to be the healthiest options.
4. Do not alter your family recipes– If you have made something for generations, do not try to make it healthier by adding and taking away items in the recipe. First off, you will make everyone around you go crazy because they have been waiting all year for that dish, and it will not taste the same. Instead, create a new dish, and make that a new classic
Turkey– White Meat
Cranberry Sauce– Sugar Free Jell-O (Cranberry or Strawberry)
Mashed Potatoes– Steam cauliflower until it is very, very soft. Then puree it in a blender or food processor with FF milk, garlic, salt, and Butter Buds
Sweet Potato Casserole– Take a sweet potato, cook it, and add Splenda, cinnamon, and Butter Buds. Mash it together, and cook it again.
Crust– Take Fiber One and oatmeal and grind it in a food processor/blender. Then add a little “Egg Beaters” to it to get it like a paste. Then add Splenda and spread it on the bottom of a pan
Pumpkin Pie Filling– Take a can of 100% Pure Pumpkin, and add Splenda and Cinnamon as needed. FF milk will help with the consistency as well.
Gravy– Heinz makes a fat-free gravy, I think it is 80 calories for the whole jar. It tastes good, but there is a lot of sodium in it.
These are just a few ideas and tips. I hope everyone has a awesome Turkey Day!! Gobble, Gobble!