Making small changes for healthier holiday meals

6:06 AM, Nov 19, 2018

Thanksgiving is typically a feast of all of our favorite foods. From the turkey, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes, it’s surprising we enjoy these dishes only a couple times a year.

But the one worry that comes with the feasting holidays, is gaining weight.

Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi Dietician, Marcie Garza, says there are some ways to have a healthier thanksgiving and also accommodate family and friends dietary needs.

Garza’s first rule of thumb, “never walk into a potluck or thanksgiving meal hungry, that’s one of the biggest things not to do.”

She says for people who do not want to gain weight- focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing it.

In recent years, fads like ketogenic diets or simply, low-carb diets, have gained popularity.

TAMUCC staff member, Alexandra McBloom says she tries to, “stay away from too many carbs and starches..So I’ll skip the mashed potatoes and have a little bit of yams and some brussel sprouts.”

Garza says there are plenty of ways to substitute for low-carb or gluten-free during your Thanksgiving meal.

“Using gluten-free blends like stuffing or gluten-free flours for gravies,” Garza said.

Simple ingredients like gluten-free flours can be found in most grocery stores.

Even watching out for food allergies to eggs, dairy and tree nuts can be less-stressful if you know where to start.

“Swapping out flax eggs for regular eggs, that’s just a slurry of ground flax seed and water, it bakes in regular baked goods just the same,” says Garza.

Another simple tip is to use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter, or using oils in place of other fats like butter.

And if you’re more into the liquid diet, during Thanksgiving, Garza says to remember to hydrate.

“Anytime you’re consuming alcohol around the holidays or in general. I always encourage to alternate one alcoholic beverage with one glass of water.”

Luckily, Garza says the average American usually gains only 2 lbs during the holidays. However, a typical Thanksgiving Meal with dessert and alcoholic drinks, about 4,500 calories.

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