By Jessica VanReenen M.S. Clinical Exercise Physiology, Grand Rapids MI.

In about two weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us! To most of us Thanksgiving is about food and family and something we look forward to and to others, it may be something we dread.  Thanksgiving is the day where the home cooks show off their mad cooking skills and the expectation of the people doing the eating to finish off the menu. So, the question remains, how do you keep your family’s tradition going when you are trying to stay healthy and are hindered with the staples of the Thanksgiving table such as fats and carbs? For one, you could help prepare the menu ahead of time in order to incorporate some healthy substitutes. Substitute olive oil to create the smoothness in the mashed potatoes instead of heavy cream, and cut down on the butter which you won’t even miss. For the sweet potatoes, instead of brown sugar, try using crushed pineapple to add the sweetness. For stuffing, try incorporating whole wheat bread instead of white bread and add broth instead of butter to hold it all together. And finally for pumpkin pie, try using graham cracker crumbs for the crust instead of the usual wheat flour because you will only be using oil rather than shortening. If you cannot use these substitutes to your holiday eating, remember portion control and choose wisely what you eat. But remember; above all be thankful for all you have!


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