Surviving the Thanksgiving Table: A Few Hacks
Whether you’re hosting or you’re a guest, you can always make sure there’s at least something for you to eat. Just make a big enough batch to share with the table. You can never have too many salads, sides, and desserts at Thanksgiving, so consider one or more of the following.
- Acorn or butternut squash roasted with garlic, rosemary, and chicken broth for seasoning.
- Roasted Brussels sprouts or green beans with Dijon mustard.
- Spinach salad with cranberries, chestnut pieces, and cubes of cooked sweet potato.
- Cabbage and roasted beet salad.
- Fresh fruit salad.
- Baked apples with cinnamon and sprinkled with chopped walnuts or pecans.
These dishes can save your diet and dignity, and they’re pretty simple! You don’t need to aim for fancy dishes and give yourself any extra headaches in the kitchen at Thanksgiving.
Protein and Veggies…You Know the Drill
You know how to eat right after WLS. Thanksgiving dinner is no different. Protein comes first, then come veggies. A serving of starch can fit in, and watch out for the condiments. That sounds easy enough, and it’s what you do every other day. Ready to put it in place on Thanksgiving?
Your lean protein is probably skinless turkey breast, unless you’re vegetarian or having a non-traditional Thanksgiving. Whether you have tofu, crab, chicken, ham, or venison, you can make a small serving of lean protein the center of your meal. Take mustard and only a dollop of cranberry sauce, which is high-sugar.
Veggies come next. Load up on green salads, sautéed broccoli or kale, and anything roasted, such as carrots, green beans, and onions. Watch out for creamy corn and green bean casseroles and buttery vegetables.
Finally, garnish your meal with a little bit of starch. Sweet potatoes are healthiest, but you can also opt for a small serving of mashed potatoes, half a dinner roll, or even a spoonful of stuffing.
Pick One Special Treat
You don’t need to deprive yourself completely on Thanksgiving. If you don’t let yourself have any treats, you might eventually break down and eat way too much later. Better to enjoy a few bites of pumpkin pie now and feel good about it than to cave in to the entire pie later and feel sick and guilty.
Give yourself permission to choose a special treat that you love and look forward to every year. Whether it’s your mom’s sausage and apple stuffing or your brother-in-law’s homemade biscuits, let yourself have a few bites of that special treat. Savor every bite. Think about its flavors and texture, and what it means to you, and how proud you are that you can enjoy it and be satisfied with that portion.
Practice Eating Slowly
Eating slowly is essential on the bariatric surgery diet. Thanksgiving is actually the ideal time to practice your skills. When else do you get the pleasure of good company sitting around the table for hours? Take advantage!
Engage in the conversation, and focus on the people, not the food. If you stick to the rule of not talking with your mouth full, and you put your fork down and make eye contact when you’re listening to someone else talk, Thanksgiving dinner will fly by, and you may find you enjoyed it more than ever while eating less than ever. Good deal!
Don’t Let Leftovers Weigh You Down
The dinner’s over, everyone’s left the table, and the house is quiet again. It’s not yet time to let your guard down, though! The leftovers can be even more dangerous than Thanksgiving dinner itself. Pack them up and get rid of the ones that are trouble – like chocolate cream pie.
There are plenty of healthy ways you can use leftover turkey. One is to simply freeze it in small portions and defrost them when you need them. You can also try any of these ideas.
- Turkey wraps with shredded turkey, mustard, and leftover roasted veggies wrapped in lettuce leaves.
- Turkey soup with a base of chicken broth, onions, carrots, and celery, plus any veggies you want.
- Turkey curry with cauliflower, eggplant, peas, and Indian spices.
- Turkey salad with cooked cubed turkey, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, diced pickles, and black pepper.
- Green salad with turkey, avocado, and black beans.
There are so many healthy ways to use turkey, you may not even be sick of it after you finish the entire turkey!
With these hacks and a little discipline and creativity, you can get through Thanksgiving dinner and beyond feeling healthy and confident, not stuffed and weighed down. That confidence is worth a lot, and it can carry you through the holiday season as you keep working towards your goals.