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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:38 AM

The question of healthy diet vs. family desire for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

So, I'm eating very carefully, following a diet developed for me by a dietician. I'm great with it, easy to follow. I feel so much better than when I was living on pop and junk food.

Family, though, will want the "traditional" foods, high in fats, sodium, refined carbs, and empty calories.

I am always the cook. And I love cooking, I can easily modify recipes to make them significantly healthier.

But should I?

Is it fair to them to impose changes on them that they may object too?

Or should I consider the fact that many in my family are typical of many Americans, overweight with the conditions associated with obesity and eating very poorly, plenty of all of the wrong kinds of foods but terrible nutrition, mostly empty calories?

Let them have their day, or try to promote positive change?


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Reply The question of healthy diet vs. family desire for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (Original post)
Denninmi Nov 2012 OP
mykpart Nov 2012 #1
Arkansas Granny Nov 2012 #2
LARED Nov 2012 #3
Tobin S. Nov 2012 #4
hlthe2b Nov 2012 #5
brokechris Nov 2012 #6
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #7
mnhtnbb Nov 2012 #8
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #9

Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:06 AM

1. It's only one day a year.

But if you're the cook, make what you want. Do gentle modifications. Use whole grains in your stuffing. Mash sweet potatoes without sugar or butter, and skip the marshmallows. Have fresh vegetables instead of heavy casseroles. Or have some of both. Leave the skins on the white potatoes you mash, and leave out the butter. Mostly just make it a day everyone can enjoy.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:18 AM

2. It's one meal and it's a celebration of sorts. You could scale it back so

you don't have so many leftovers to tempt you later, but enjoy the day and have the traditional meal that everybody anticipates and loves.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:19 AM

3. I would prepare a free range Tofurky

 

Seriously, it's one day, just add a few healthy items, and prepare in a healthier way.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:29 AM

4. I agree with what others have said above

I'd make what they expect and make a separate meal for myself.

I'm watching what I eat, too, but I'm not on a strict diet as far as the type of food I eat. I just keep it under a certain amount of calories. That means when I celebrate this weekend with my family, I'll go into it knowing how many calories is in what and eat the same thing as everyone else without going over my calorie limit. And hold the pie unless that's all you want to eat. I was amazed at how many calories pumpkin pie has in it.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:38 AM

5. I would make a variety of both healthy and traditional foods...

Plenty for you to stick to your healthier diet, without making your family feel this one special day is a deprivation for them...

I say this in all sincerity, having, for the first time in my life, been able to stick to my own healthier patterns over a three week trip, including several days in the food capitol, New Orleans! Congrats to you and I truly understand... But I'm betting your will power will allow you to be satiated with your own healthier offerings, while still providing the other foods for your family members.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 08:40 AM

6. Every family has different traditions

but most of the foods that are popularly associated with Thanksgiving are pretty healthy. Turkey, pumpkin, cranberries....yummy and healthy! I just don't over indulge on the stuffing and potatoes (although I do have a bit because it is a once a year thing). And then I make sure that I get out and have some exercise after--a nice walk or bike ride....it doesn't have to be a disaster.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:06 AM

7. Make the traditionals and set aside healthier items for yourself

 

If you are making green bean casserole, use fresh green beans and set aside some that are simply steamed for you. Mashed potatoes for everyone else and a baked potato for you. Turkey is pretty healthy - just don't put gravy and stuffing on it. Skip the dinner rolls and eat more fruit salad or spinach salad (or whatever other healthier options you are having).

Since big family dinners are always at my house, I've had to juggle different diets (vegetarians, vegans, people on a strict diet) and I've learned I can make myself crazy trying to accomodate everyone. So I just make the traditionals as usual allocating portions of the same ingredients to be cooked in a much simpler, healthier way (eg. like putting a couple of baked potatoes in the oven on a lower shelf as the turkey cooks instead of throwing those last two into the mashed potato pot).

If I'm cleaning and trimming green beans for casserole, I simply throw some into the steamer instead of into the casserole dish while I'm prepping.

Good luck!

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 10:30 AM

8. If you are the cook and willing to make modifications...you have your answer.

Seriously, do you have family that comes to your house or do they all live at your house?
If they're coming, tell them that this year you will be modifying the traditional meal
and if they want to have certain traditional foods higher in fat, sodium, etc, then
ask them to bring it--whether it's candied yams or green bean casserole or pecan pie...or
whatever.

Then you prepare alternatives: steamed green beans; crustless pie; etc.

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Response to Denninmi (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:39 PM

9. One day won't kill you. Pop open a bottle of wine for breakfast and don't worry about it.

 

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