Thanksgiving is mostly synonymous with overindulgence and can be the bane of anyone trying to eat lean. However, the holidays should be a joyous occasion. Let’s try to focus on some positives of a traditional thanksgiving meal, and develop a little strategy to detour dietary dread.
Turkey has a lot of lean white meat, but its darker meat isn’t marginally worse for you either. Both are lower in saturated fat than red meat, however the darker has higher levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins. Turkey also has an essential amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is incorrectly thought of as the reason for post-Thanksgiving drowsiness. L-tryptophan is important in the synthesis of serotonin, but Thanksgiving tiredness is generally from blood flowing to the digestive system and away from the brain.
Potatoes, especially dishes that include the skin, are quite high in potassium. Sweet potatoes have more beta carotene and vitamin C as well, though you should watch out for added sugars in most recipes involving them. Green beans and other vegetables not in casserole form could be your friend in fulfilling satiety.
MAC & CHEESE
Macaroni and cheese or cheese grits might require more moderation due to the sodium and saturated fat content. It can be a good source of calcium, however. Also, try to go with a true whole grain roll with little butter if possible.
Overindulgence on desserts and sweets may be the downfall for the health conscious. Just give yourself a bit of time after the main course to let satiety sink in before packing in the pie. If you’re especially nutritionally savvy, maybe use Thanksgiving as one of the days to carb-load for a later endurance event.
If you do go a little overboard, at least try to time the feast a little earlier than bedtime. Having a meal too late can lead to insulin spikes throughout the night that may disrupt restful sleep.