With Turkey Day only a few days away, those of you who are cooking might be pressed for time or short on ideas for what to serve. And those of you who are just eating might be concerned about overdoing it. Never fear! We've got last-minute Thanksgiving tips for both groups.
If You're Cooking
Handling culinary duties this year? We know it can be tough to balance work, travel, houseguests, and preparing a big meal for your family and friends. Here are some great last-minute ShopWell lists of foods to add to your grocery list that are nutritious and easy to prepare.
- Thanksgiving drink ideas: For a festive, yet healthy drink, start with a base of unsweetened iced tea, seltzer, or good old-fashioned water, then add ice and sliced fresh fruit or chunks of frozen fruit. Got a little extra time before the meal? Get creative by dropping a frozen berry into each slot of an ice cube tray, then filling it up with water or iced tea. Your guests will love these cool cubes.
- Great veggies for snacking: The Thanksgiving meal isn't the only place where guests can overdo it– pre-dinner snacks are also a danger zone. Help your guests fill up on healthier fare by providing chopped fresh veggies like radishes, tomatoes, and broccoli, with hummus for dipping. A small bowl or two of unsalted roasted almonds, pistachios, or cashews are another good high-protein and fiber option to control appetite before the big meal.
- Good vegetables for roasting: Many of the vegetables that are in season right now, like brussels sprouts and squash, roast up nicely with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a hot oven. A few of these easy-to-prepare sides will cut down on your kitchen time and give everyone some tasty, healthful options.
- Fruit to chop up for fruit salad: You probably won't be able to keep your guests away from the pie entirely, but including some healthy fruit options for your guest to enjoy along with a small slice of your pie of choice can be a satisfying, healthy end to a fantastic meal. Chopping up a little mint, basil, or other sweet herb or adding a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice is sure to make this dish stand out.
If You're a Guest
You may have dodged a bullet when it comes to hosting, but you are probably scrambling around for a last minute host gift to bring with you. Here are some tips for savoring the meal and the company and helping the host, while also bringing some added health benefits to the big day.
- Bring a healthy gift: Not sure what would be a good addition to your host's thoughtfully prepared meal? Here's a ShopWell list of last-minute Thanksgiving treats that you can bring with you. Even if your host has everything covered, bringing along olives, hummus, or fiber-rich chips and crackers are a nice addition that can be used during the meal or for healthy weekend snacks.
- Help out the host: Get moving in the kitchen, and you'll not only earn the admiration of your host, you'll burn some calories as you chop and scrub.
- Don't deprive yourself: If you try to avoid all your Thanksgiving favorites, you'll feel left out. Instead, aim to fill at least half of your plate with vegetables and fruit (creamy green bean casserole doesn't count as your only veg), and save the rest of the space for small helpings of turkey, candied yams, and mashed potatoes. Using a smaller plate can also help you keep portions in control. Want seconds? Remember to pile the veggies on that plate as well!
- Avoid secret traps: High-calorie drinks and too much pre-dinner snacking can undo any good work at the main event. Have one drink of choice and then switch over to water, unsweetened tea, or even low-fat milk, and take it easy with the hors d'oeuvres if you are planning on sampling some of the dessert.
- Start up a game: A little touch football, tag, or even active games like pictionary or charades can be a great activity to help everyone avoid mindless snacking before and after the meal.
Got any other fun tips for staying healthy on Turkey Day? Feel free to share them in the comments.
From all of us at ShopWell, have a fun and healthy Thanksgiving Day!