By: Melanie Grajek
Thanksgiving is all about food, family, friends, and giving thanks. It seems that every year, we all sit around the television watching the parade and football while waiting for the food to be done. Oh the food. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes packed with butter and cream cheese, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and apple pie. This year, why not change things up a bit! This is the year to start some new family traditions.
Switching up the Sides
I think we can all agree that one of the best parts about Thanksgiving is all of the food. For this Thanksgiving, try switching out the heavy, high fat, high sugar dishes for fresh, healthier, and more nutrient dense ones that are just as tasty if not better! Change up the traditional green bean casserole that’s packed with salt and fat and make some fresh steamed green beans topped with some toasted sliced almonds. Switch out the sweet potato casserole that’s topped with marshmallows and packed with sugar and use fresh sweet potatoes topped with oats and pecans or walnuts. Nuts are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein, vitamin E, magnesium and much more. Nuts are shown to lower rates of heart disease, and lower bad cholesterol (Health Benefits of Nuts, 2018). Mashed potatoes are always my favorite part of the meal. This Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to mix it up a bit. Try adding parsnips and cauliflower with the potatoes and just substitute the potatoes all together. Parsnips and cauliflower are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work! Try switching out apple pie with some slow cooker baked apples. It is so easy and everyone can have their own apple. All you have to do is core the apples and fill them with a small amount of sugar, cinnamon and oats. Then just forget about them for a couple of hours and spend time with your family and friends. By switching apple pie with a whole apples and oats, you increase the nutritional value by:
The World Health Organization of Food and Agriculture of the United Nation recommend that adults should consume at lease five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables contain high concentrations of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. High intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with low risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, cancers and osteoporosis (Pem, 2015).
Get outside! Instead of sitting around the television why not go outside for a family walk or game. Thanksgiving is one of the few times out of the year that everyone can get together and enjoy each others time together. Have a friendly match of flag football, cornhole, or a relaxing walk around the neighborhood. According to the American Heart Association, adults should get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Doing this can:
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. (2018). Retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
Flag Football http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2007-03-13/strang-gaysports/story_syndication.html
Green beans with Almonds. Retrieved from https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/green-beans-with-caramelized-onions-and-almonds-recipe-1945766
Health Benefits of Nuts. (2018). Tufts University of Health & Nutrition Letter. Vol. 36, p. 3. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=37492239-45af-482e-b771-fbff582929ba%40sessionmgr4008
Pem, D., & Jeewon, R. (2015). Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions- Narrative Review Article. Iranian journal of public health, 44(10), 1309-21
Research Suggests a Positive Correlation between Social Interaction and Health. 2018. National Institute on Aging. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/about/living-long-well-21st-century-strategic-directions-research-aging/research-suggests-positive
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 8(2), 106.
Slow Cooker Baked Apples Image. Retrieved from https://karalydon.com/recipes/slow-cooker-baked-apples/
Sweet Potato with Pecan Topping:\ http://www.ohholybasil.com/sweet-potato-smash-with-orange-rosemary-vanilla-bean-and-a-pecan-topping/
Umberson, D., & Montez, J. K. (2010). Social relationships and health: a flashpoint for health policy. Journal of health and social behavior, 51 Suppl(Suppl), S54-66.
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.