Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Day Tips

We all know that the holiday season is one of the worse times to gain weight. We like bears put on extra weight (but we don't hibernate). We have a million things going on during this particular time of year so things like working out and cooking healthy home cooked meals certainly get pushed to the side. The thing to remember is that there is an end goal to be reached.

I found some cooking tips for the Thanksgiving meal that may be beneficial to those of you preparing your Turkey Day menu. These little tips can help you to not take on as many calories without having to feel like you're missing out on the meal. Here are the 6 Guilt-free Choices for Thanksgiving written by Joe Wilkes (received in the p90x e-mail).

1. Turkey- The main dish and symbol of Thanksgiving. Lean turkey breast is the way to go it contains 8 grams of protein and only 44 calories and 1 gram of fat per ounce. Turkey may be one of the healthiest things that one can eat. If you prefer dark meat to white meat you only need to add one extra gram of fat and 9 more calories per ounce. Of course as most of you know you want to avoid the skin of the bird to cut back on extra calories and fat. Another big tip is to go easy of the gravy. Wilkes suggests doing what he has coined the "salad-dressing technique- dip the tines of your fork in the gravy before you spear the meat to get more flavor with less fat." Another thing suggested if you happen to be the cook, you should use broth as a baste as opposed to butter.

2. Cranberries- Use the real thing here and don't cheat with the cans. These tiny little berries are full of nutrition, including high levels of vitamin C and several polyphenol antioxidants. I had no idea how good cranberries were for you until I read this, but they really do lots of cool little things. They're good for stopping the growth of harmful bacteria in the bladder and urethra. They also contain a chemical that helps stop tooth decay (however since most are prepared with sugar that would make this one fact obsolete). A neat way to prepare cranberries would be in orange juice, or a teensy bit of port wine. These will bring out their flavor and not over sweeten them.

3. Yams- Yes I mean yams and not sweet potatoes. These are great sources of vitamin B6, which has the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. They also contain potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure. They also contain complex carbohydrates and fiber that won't spike your blood sugar. So many people want to candy the yams, but that really takes away all of the blood sugar benefits. Try spicing them up with a little bit of cinnamon instead. You can also try a little bit of maple syrup on the side that way the extra sugar is optional.

4. Sweet potatoes- They have a lot of the same benefits of yams because they are relative to them, but the sweet potato also has bunches of nutrients that regular potatoes do not, including beta-carotene and vitamin C. These high levels of carotenoids in sweet potatoes helps regulate ones blood sugar and that helps for people to avoid the tryptophan turkey coma. Melting marshmallows on top can take away the nutritional benefits, but you can always scrape those off!

5. Salad- of course this is something that you should load up on. And by salad obviously what is meant by this is lettuce and veggies, not the cream-based salads like Waldorf salad or mayonnaise packed potato or macaroni salad. Put the dressing on the side and use it sparingly of course. You can use the salad dressing technique discussed earlier.

6. Pumpkin Pie- Yum yum pumpkin pie, the dessert most associated with Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that one slice of pumpkin pie has as much beta-carotene as an entire carrot. It is also very high in vitamin C. Like everything else mentioned above we end up killing it with add ons like fats and sugar. So if you are making the pie, you can sub skim milk for cream or sweetened condensed milk. You can also add silken tofu to thicken up the pie filling and that also provides the extra health benefits of the soy!

Obviously there will be lots of yummy choices around, but I will remind myself how proud I am of myself as soon as I step on a scale and see that the number has gone down. Another thing to remember that me like everyone else I know tend to forget during this particular holiday is portion control. When I'm full I'll stop eating. Another thing is that it is bad to sit in front of a television when eating and what happens on most people's turkey day get together? That's right, plopping down on a couch in front of a television watching some football. When you're distracted you don't realize how much food you are shoving in your face and it also takes you longer to realize that you're full.

I'll try to keep all of these things in mind and I hope that this information has been beneficial to you too. Only two more days to go :)

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