As Thanksgiving approaches, so does the anticipation of gathering around the table with friends and family for good talks and (you already know) good food. But in recent years, the conversations have shifted as we’ve become more aware of the importance of health and wellness within our community. Here are some healthy conversation starters to continue the dialogue with your loved ones—-just in time for soul food season.
Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving is a time to savor the flavors of tradition, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make healthier choices. Encourage discussions about scrumptious yet nutritious recipes that can grace your table without missing a beat. You can suggest using lighter ingredients with less sugar and going easy on the seasonings by opting for lower-sodium or salt-free alternatives.
Here are some ideas and swap suggestions :
- Mashed Potatoes- Use less butter and opt for Greek yogurt and low-fat milk instead of cream (or try mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes).
- Stuffing- Try making whole wheat stuffing using wheat or multi-grain bread instead of traditional white. Use low-sodium broth and load it up with more flavorful veggies like celery, onions, and mushrooms (instead of ground sausage).
- Turkey- Opt for a roasted turkey using herbs and olive oil instead of deep-fried and heavily basted with butter
- Sweet Potatoes- Use fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned (it also won’t hurt to make sweet potatoes a little less sweet).
- Desserts- Instead of apple pie or cobbler, try cinnamon-baked apples or enjoy a one-layer crust pie (no top layer). You could also try serving dark chocolate-covered strawberries as a healthier alternative to sweets like puddings and cakes.
You don’t have to compromise much on flavor; just do a little tweaking here and there. Share your favorite recipes and ask loved ones to do the same. This way, you can collectively explore the joy of food that is both comforting and kind to your health.
No shade to your uncle who eats like he’s eating for two and stashes away four to five plates for himself alone—but portion control is a vital topic, especially on Thanksgiving. Engage your family in conversations about strategies for managing portion sizes.
This conversation starter will help prevent overeating, a common occurrence during festive gatherings, by promoting awareness of individual intake. This discussion also encourages balanced eating habits, emphasizing the importance of consuming a diverse range of nutrients for overall well-being. Moreover, managing portion sizes plays a pivotal role in weight management, reducing the risk of obesity-related health issues.
You could share your tactics, like using smaller plates or eating more slowly, taking small deliberate bites to appreciate the textures of each dish and savor the flavor. Express how mindful eating can lead to a more connected, enjoyable Thanksgiving and an overall health-conscious dining experience. This can create a supportive atmosphere that helps everyone enjoy the meal without overdoing it.
We know that this time of year brings about togetherness along with tons of extra calories. Getting active is a fun and healthy way to bond with family during your Thanksgiving celebration. Initiating conversations about exercise with your family is essential for promoting overall health and well-being. By engaging in such discussions, you and your family can collectively recognize the importance of staying active, not just during the holiday season but as a consistent part of daily life. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, supports cardiovascular health, and enhances muscular strength and flexibility. Moreover, it provides a positive outlet for stress relief, contributing to improved mental health and a more balanced lifestyle.
Discuss the idea of planning post-dinner walks or organizing fun, light-hearted activities like