Thanksgiving is looming up for Americans. Are you wondering how you can enjoy yourself without completely sabotaging the results of your recent detox diet?
Or perhaps you are you thinking Thanksgiving only comes once a year so why not go ahead and splurge?
Well, the problem with that is that if you binge on a lot of fatty and sugary food it can set you off on a pattern of unhealthy eating again for the rest of the holiday season. Come January and 7lbs heavier you’ll be wondering how it all happened.
It’s said that the average American Thanksgiving meal can contain up to a whopping 4,500 calories. That’s the equivalent of about 28 glazed donuts in one sitting. Doesn’t bear thinking about does it?
So what’s a healthy eating plan?
I’ve seen a lot of so called “healthy” recipes that people have been sharing on Facebook recently as well as ones that have dropped into my email box that are full of sugar. I saw one that had both brown and white sugar in the ingredients. By no stretch of the imagination can that be healthy. Don’t fall for those recipes.
There’s been so much written about why sugar is bad for you and I’ve already written a lot about sugar on this blog as well that I hardly need to go into it again here. Just remember that it’s sugar and refined food that is fuelling the obesity and diabetes epidemic and not saturated fat.
Once for ounce there are more calories in fat so if you are trying to lose weight you still should watch how much fat you are eating.
Healthy eating plan with healthy Thanksgiving recipes.
1. Pre-Load your liver
If your liver is in top form you will better equipped to digest fat and process fat. This means you will stay lean even in times of indulgence.
Whole foods like lemons, artichoke, beets (beetroot), cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, arugula and cabbage; fennel seeds, dandelion, turmeric, curcumin, garlic, ginger, coriander and parsley all help to supprt liver function, so load up on them at least a week before your festive meal.
2. Start the day right
Start the day with a green smoothie or a healthy breakfast that will sustain you or both. It’s disastrous to starve yourself so you can eat more of the Thankgiving meal. You will be so hungry that you won’t be able to resist temptation.
Make yourself a green smoothie when you get up and wait for at least 30 minutes to let it digest before you have breakfast. (see below for ideas)
One idea to make your green smoothie more sustaining and a breakfast in one is by adding some oats to it. Katherine is calls them Green Thickies. She lost 56 pounds and reclaimed her healthy by drinking them. Find out more here.
Here’s her basic Green Thickie recipe :
2 cups Water or use coconut milk
2 cups Spinach or other mild greens such as Chard, Collard Greens, Lettuce, Kale
1 cup Oats
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds or any other plain seeds
1/4 cup Dates or date paste, other dried fruit
2 medium Bananas or 2 small mangos or 2-4 cups of any other fruit
1. Blend the dry ingredients and liquid first for a short time
2. Blend the greens next for a short time (if using)
3. Blend the fruit and the rest of the ingredients until smooth (or as smooth as your blender will allow.
High speed blenders may need 2 minutes for a Green Thickie, less powerful blenders may need a lot more, sometimes 5-10 minutes) Blending this way allows the dry ingredients to be blended for longest, it means the greens will fit in your blender and your fruit gets less blending so it doesn’t become too hot. Add more liquid if required to thin it out.
Eggs fried or scrambled in coconut butter topped with halved cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and salsa verde.
Easy Almond Flour Blueberry Pancakes
These are gluten free and can be made in less than five minutes! The recipe is from Katie, The Wellness Mama, real food crusader. Get it here.
Quinoa Power Porridge
Another gluten free, low GI breakfast that is warming and sustaining from Teresa Cutter, one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking. Get the recipe here.
3. Keep hydrated
Keep your water intake up. Drink pure water and not tap water. Water helps control your appetite by making you feel fuller faster. Drink one glass of water for every glass of alcohol you drink.
If you don’t like plain water try adding a slice or two of fresh lemon to it or try one of these detox waters for everyday drinking or try this spicy non alcoholic cocktail.
Red Alert Cocktail
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
1 stick celery, strings removed, sliced
150ml apple juice
Juice 1 organic lemon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
A few mint leaves
Few drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)
Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz up until very smooth. Pour into attractive serving glass.
4. Fill your plate with veggies first
Opt for the healthier vegetable dishes or salad first or take a healthy vegetable dish if you can. If you are doing the cooking then here’s a couple of recipes ideas for you to try.
Spiced Roast Butternut Squash
One 3lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into even sized cubes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Celtic or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Melt the coconut oil in a large baking tin in the oven if solid then toss the squash with it and the spices. Season with salt & pepper to taste and spread squash in the baking tin or baking sheet. Cook for about 40 minutes until tender and just beginning to brown at the edges. Place in suitable serving bowl.
You can roast a combination of carrots, squash and parsnips the same way. Garnish with some chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil or thyme.
Using coconut oil is healthier for roasting vegetables than olive oil. The fatty acids in olive oil can be damaged if you heat it above 180C and many experts say they can be damaged at that temperature so I have taken to cooking in coconut oil.
Green Beans with Salsa Verde
2 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp chervil, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
4 tbsp small capers, rinsed and drained
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 small shallots, trimmed and finely chopped
Celtic or Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil gently over low heat. Away from heat stir in all herbs and shallots. Leave until needed
Meanwhile steam beans until just tender and place in large bowl.
Add capers, lemon zest and juice to herb mixture.
Pour salsa over over beans and toss gently to mix.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
White Potato Mash
Although mashed white potato on its own has a high GI value when it’s eaten with a meal that contains protein and fact it has a low GI effect. So, if you prefer traditional mashed potato to sweet potato mash go right ahead and enjoy it.
Makes 8 servings approx
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 medium), the best sort for perfect Thanksgiving mash
1 large clove garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin organic olive oil or organic butter
1/8 teaspoon Celtic or Himalyan salt
Extra salt for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks. Place the potatoes in a large pan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Drain well.
While potatoes are cooking mix 1/8 teaspoon salt with the garlic, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme. Stir in the olive oil. Omit this step if using butter.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add butter if using and mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer until very smooth. Stir in oil, if using, and herb mixture.
Well, I almost forgot the salad. Got to have a healthy salad as part of the meal! The Celeriac (Celery Root) Special would make a good addition. Get the recipe here.
5. Enjoy a small portion of dessert
Traditional thanksgiving desserts are typically full of sugar. Fruit desserts are best if you have a choice. Take a small portion of the one you choose and eat slowly. Chew each bite well and enjoy the flavor.
Here’s a recipe for Pumpkin Pie made with a delicious walnut crust and maple syrup instead of white flour and white sugar. Although maple syrup is technically a sugar it does contain some minerals so is okay to use as a sweetener once in a while. One study found that real maple syrup does not cause the same spike in blood insulin levels as some other sugars.
It’s from Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom. Get the recipe here
Or how about a raw Pumpkin Pie?
This one is from Em. She says the best diet is the one that makes you the healthiest and happiest. For her a vegan, high-carb, mostly raw diet makes her the healthiest and happiest. The crust is made from nuts, raisins and dates and the filling is sweetened with dates and maple syrup. It’s simple but very tasty.
Get her recipe for Raw Pumkin Pie here.
By swapping out some of unhealthy ingredients often found in traditional holiday fare for healthier and tasty alternatives, you can enjoy all your favorites without any of the guilt. And, by sticking to this Healthy Eating Plan you can still enjoy your favorite Thanksgiving foods without gaining a pound. What’s your plan? Let me know by leaving your comment below.