How to: Eat healthy on Thanksgiving

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Marissa Martin

The “everything is okay in moderation” rule of thumb is thrown out the window when it comes time to give thanks at the family table during Thanksgiving.

Over eating may happen throughout Thanksgiving week, and even with all of this eating, the nutrition department at Georgia Southern University knows how to keep it healthy during the holidays.

“If you feel guilty about overeating you need to make a plan and remember that Thanksgiving is about the people, a time to focus on the family and not about the food,” Becky Larson, registered dietitian and clinical nutrition professor, said.

Larson offers advice to those looking to not over eat over the holiday.

“A lot of these things are common sense, but people just don’t want to think about them,” Larson said.

Don’t travel to each family members house with the intention on eating a full meal, Larson said.

“Bring a snack to eat in between meals, and don’t skip meals because you’re more likely going to over eat later,” Larson said.

Bring a healthy option to Thanksgiving dinners like roasted vegetables and plan to stick with the healthier dishes, Larson said.

“This holiday is something that comes once a year, and it’s pretty unique, so I’m not saying don’t eat, but you can say no sometimes,” Larson said.

Choosing foods that are seasonal and specific to Thanksgiving will help limit calories like choosing turkey and cranberry sauce instead of the mash potatoes because those are available anytime, Amy Jo Riggs, associate professor of nutrition and food science, said.

“I like to put a healthy spin on classics like using egg whites instead the whole egg, replacing oil with apple sauce or using whole wheat in the stuffing,” Riggs said.

“Using small plates and bowls means you’ll only take small portions, and with big plates you get lost in extra calories,” Larson said.

Drinking alcoholic beverages will add calories that may be forgotten, and they can add a lot when you start drinking mixed drinks, Larson said.

“Be reasonable in portion sizes and try to incorporate more vegetables than starches,” Riggs said. “Leftovers can be separated into proper portion sizes.”

Drinking plenty of water and eating vegetables will help Thanksgiving issues, Larson said.

Taking time to exercise will help combat all of the extra calories consumed during the holiday, Riggs said.

“Working out is easy to incorporate. Get outside and be active instead of sitting down and watching the football game,” Riggs said.

“The day before and the day after try to work out, take a walk. That will make them feel better about what they eat so they don’t feel bad about it,” Carson Jones, junior nutrition and food science major, said.

Riggs said, “Don’t go to the table starving, and don’t leave the table stuffed.”