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Tips for Navigating the Holiday Table

Many of us make our biggest dietary mistakes during the holidays. In fact, statistics show that Americans are the most apt to put on unwanted weight during Thanksgiving. Try to keep some of these tips in mind when navigating the holiday table:

  • Remember to eat your protein first. Eat your turkey before diving into the veggies. This will help to prevent any rises in blood sugar and also help to curb your appetite.
  • Buy organic vegetables and eat the skins—the greatest concentration of nutrients and fiber are in the skin or right beneath the skin.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on winter squash and sweet potatoes. Cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar and adds great flavor.
  • The same goes for that holiday slice of pumpkin or apple pie. Both apples and pumpkins are excellent sources of many vitamins and minerals and the wonderful spices used in their recipes, including ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon have a positive effect on blood sugar and provide superior anti-oxidant protection.
  • Look for desserts made with healthy ingredients. A slice of pie with crust made from coconut flour or almond flour will have significantly lower carbohydrate and calorie counts than its traditional counterpart.
  • Use real butter. Stay away from shortening and margarine, which contain dangerous trans-fats.
  • Try Greek Yogurt as a topping, or in recipes that call for sour cream and cream cheese. Greek yogurt, especially that made from sheep milk and/or goat milk, is particularly healthful and has a thick, rich, creamy texture.
  • Stick to dressing your salad and cooking only with oils rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, and low in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Best options: extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil and high-oleic safflower or sunflower oil.
  • Try adding a little finely minced garlic to freshly steamed and mashed turnips and squash— this adds delicious flavor and antioxidant health benefits.
  • Choose red wine over white. Red wine has a much higher concentration of anti-aging antioxidants called flavonols. I like the robust flavor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with classic Thanksgiving fare.

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