How to: Pick Your Way Through Healthful Thanksgiving Food


I don’t know about you, but when there is a vast array of brightly colored, steamy, and glistening food right before my eyes, I just cannot help it but to go forth and try to stack everything on my plate, and then shove them all down into my belly.

Well, DON’T.

I’m here to tell you that there’s a healthy way to go about picking the right (and healthiest) Thanksgiving food. (If, on the other hand, you’re looking to get stuffed, check out Bethany’s post about stretching your stomach later today.)

My very first proper Thanksgiving meal was back in 2005 at my friend’s house in Topeka, KS. I was unaware that I was helping to prep for the infamous American Thanksgiving meal until I started to see each dish getting plated. Not only did we have a large turkey and cranberry sauce, we also had steak, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, peanut brittle, pumpkin pie, and much much more! I felt like a kid who just stepped into Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Before long, I was stuffed.

But over the years, I have learned the secrets to a healthy Thanksgiving meal.

If you are cooking your own meal, at home or in college, you might want to try one of SKC’s very own recipes! I’d say start with some sweet potatoes, go for the turkey (or a turkey sandwich), and end with a healthy Thanksgiving fruit crumble! Cutting down on the number of dishes is a surefire way to stay less full.

Or, if you don’t really have a choice as to what goes on the table, then you will definitely have a choice as to what goes in your belly. Follow these easy tips and you will not wake up with a food coma.

**Tips for a Healthful Thanksgiving**

1. It’s okay to go crazy on your veggies! Pile them up, its good for you..especially those leafy greens and the plump red tomatoes.

2. Pick your carbohydrates wisely. Go for whole grain bread instead of the normal white and bleached bread roll. Follow this guide on whole grains and you’ll be golden! Trust me, those carbs can kick you in the butt on your next gym outing.

3. Decide on a protein and stick to it. I recommend indulging in one to three slices of turkey.

4. Accompany your Thanksgiving meal with olive oil by either drizzling over your salad or dipping your bread in it. According to nutritionist Mary Flynn, olive oil helps to absorb the good nutrients. It is also a mono-unsaturated fat, does not oxidize, and has phytonutrients. She recommends one tablespoon of olive oil to one cup of vegetables.

5. Select dessert that is fruit based; for example, apple pie or some fruit bowls.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself though, there’s always the option of a post-feast detox!

Julie Sophonpanich is a senior at Brown University where she studies History of Art and Architecture. She loves hosting dinner parties for her friends and traveling to sample yummy food.

Originally posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011

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