Tips for enjoying a healthy Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is often filled with time with loved ones and delicious meals. But for those trying to stay mindful of their health, particularly in the holiday season, there are ways to navigate the tempting spreads while still enjoying the celebrations. 

“It’s really about making choices, not about cheating. And I want everyone to know that one meal is not going to do anything for their long-term health,” registered dietitian Laura Cipullo told CBSN on Tuesday. 

Cipullo suggested focusing on what you can have instead of what you can’t have — and pacing yourself. 

“Instead of thinking of the holidays as a season to binge or eat excessively, think about the holiday season as any other day,” she said. “So if you think about Thanksgiving, eat breakfast, eat lunch, use the appetizers as your snack, Thanksgiving dinner for your normal dinner, and the Thanksgiving dessert as your normal dessert… because if you restrict through the holiday season and go into the dinners extra hungry or starving, you’re likely to overeat, feel awful the next day, and if you’re not mindful that can continue on the pattern for the rest of the holiday season.” 

She also advised making note of what you truly want to eat, and saving a plate of second choices for the next day. 

Meanwhile, if you’re in charge of cooking and want to provide some healthier options, Cipullo suggested: “Mix and match the fat.” 

“You want to save saturated fats for things like dessert, stuffing and gravy, and then you want to use the anti-inflammatory fat sources like olive oil or almonds to flavor and build all of the vegetables around,” Cipullo said. “So all of your sides can really be built around using olive oil, and dressing up carrots with thyme and parsley. You can take turmeric and a little bit of olive oil and cover the cauliflower. You can take some Brussels sprouts and add some miso and honey.”

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