Our registereted Nutritionist in Toronto, Natasha Onley, shares some Thanksgiving tips to help us feel like we didn’t just come out of an all you can eat Chinese buffet.
5 tips for a healthy Thanksgiving to gobble without the wobble:
Oh yes, Thanksgiving: the air is fresh, the colors are golden and vibrant, and our plates are full, both with busy schedules and hearty fall fare. For many people, the holiday season brings more than joy – it can also bring some unwanted pounds. Whether it’s your mom’s special casserole or Aunt Judy’s double fudge dessert, it can be tough to pass up those favorite holiday foods you only taste once a year. So, what can you do to avoid weight gain and stay well – and still celebrate the season?
Try these healthful tips!
1.) Drink water all day long to stay hydrated. It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst. If you’re going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, ask for a glass of water once you arrive to help you feel full and avoid overindulging. And don’t head straight for the food – make a point of greeting friends or introducing yourself to new people.
2.) Eat your veggies first. Fill half of your plate with vegetables. They tend to be low in calories and packed with nutrients. Just go lightly on high-calorie vegetable dishes covered in cheese or heavy sauces.
3.) Transform your traditional recipes. Whether you’re preparing the full nine yards or just a simple side dish for the family affair, switch out the unhealthy options by adding flavour instead of fats with fresh herbs and garlic, using gluten free or dairy free alternatives where you can, and preparing fresh fruit desserts and low-glycemic baking instead of traditional calorie-loaded treats.
4.) Try some bubbly Kombucha instead of booze. We all know alcohol can add on unwanted calories. Kombucha is a fabulous, fermented alternative that tastes delicious and provides enzymes and probiotics to keep your tummy happy after that big heavy meal!
5.) Take a post-dinner stroll. Instead of heading straight to the couch for a snooze, put on your sneakers and head outside for a brisk walk. Spend time with your family while burning off calories.
BUT what about the pumpkin pie? Instead of adding a teaspoon of pumpkin with a bag of sugar, let’s try going a little more natural with the same amount of yumminess.
Mini Pumpkin Mousse Tartlets
Quick, easy and healthy Thanksgiving mini pumpkin pies, with no need for an oven!
For the crust:
1 cup walnuts
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
¼ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
(Add extra cinnamon if desired!)
- Line a mini muffin tin with 12 parchment cups, and set aside.
- To prepare the crust, pulse the walnuts and shredded coconut in a small food processor until ground into a fine meal. (Be careful not to over-process, or you’ll wind up with nut butter instead!) Add the maple syrup, coconut oil and salt and process again until just mixed, and the dough sticks together when pinched between your fingers. Scoop the dough by tsp into the 12 parchment cups and use your fingers to press down and form a crust for each cup. Place the pan in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.
- To prepare the filling, simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until completely smooth and creamy. (If your dates aren’t soft enough to blend easily, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes beforehand.) Remove the pan of crusts from the fridge, and pour the batter evenly into the 12 cups or use a piper bag to pipe batter into cups. Return to the fridge to set completely, about 4-6 hours.
- When the center of the filling is firm to the touch, the tarts are ready to serve!
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