To binge or not to binge

Man cutting pumpkin pie

There is nothing I love more than the crisp sound of leaves crunching under my boots and the sweet aroma of a pumpkin spice candle. Fall is here and with that comes a large helping of turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and…more mashed potatoes.

Every Thanksgiving, I tell myself to stay in control. Don’t overeat; you always feel miserable and bloated after the big meal. I figured my fate was inevitable until I came across Banner Boswell Medical Center Clinical Nutritional Senior Manager Nicole Hahn’s article in Green Living Magazine about healthy alternatives to your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Boo-ya!

She shares ingredient substitutes that cut fat and calories as well as tips and tricks on how to eat within your means (portion control). Although – I, too – am not fond of the words “healthy alternatives to Thanksgiving,” we could all use a few suggestions this holiday season that our New Year’s resolutions will thank us for.

Healthy Thanksgiving alternatives

Here are a few of her suggestions:

  • Swap mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower to cut carbohydrates and calories.
  • Try pureed silken tofu with honey, a vegan alternative to sweetened condensed milk, commonly used in pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole recipes.
  • Instead of eggs, use apple sauce or black beans in baked goods for another vegan alternative.

“My personal favorite is exchanging mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. Deviled eggs are a big hit at my house and always seem to disappear before we sit down for dinner,” said Hahn. “Greek yogurt is less in saturated fat, yet keeps the consistency lite and the taste great.”

Hahn also says that yogurt can be used in chip and vegetable dips instead of sour cream.

Smart Holiday Eating Tips

If you’ve decided to keep all the sugar, saturated fat and calories in your favorite dishes, Hahn has a few gut-saving tricks to preparing for the big meal as well as loading up your plate.

  • Use your hands. Form a fist and use that to measure out a serving of meat and the vertical view of your fist to size casseroles and mashed potatoes.
  • Serve your first helping of food on the salad plate. After you’ve finished, give your body 10 minutes to relax and digest. Then, if you still want more, use your salad plate to serve yourself again. Hahn stresses the importance of listening to your hunger queues to avoid overeating.

The most important warning she shares is the myth that skipping breakfast to leave room for dinner is a good idea. Stick to your regular eating and exercise routine. Otherwise, you are more likely to binge on more calories throughout the day and feel worse because you failed to supply your body with nutrients.

Happy eating everyone! To read more of Nicole Hahn’s suggestions, check out her article at Green Living Magazine here.

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