Want a Thanksgiving dinner that will not destroy your pocket book or your gut? You may have turned over a new leaf in your health lately, and you are trying to get some traction. Then along comes the Holidays.
My wife is struggling with this herself. As you know from my recent article on hypothyroid, she is taking gluten out of her diet. I think this is a good idea for most people. However, different people have different levels of sensitivity to gluten. Personally, I don’t think it does your body any favors, especially your gut health. Many gluten-free foods are marketed as health foods but have other ingredients that are very questionable.
So, let’s get down to business on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner. It can be challenging with having others over who may not share your new-found passion for being healthier. Or your guest may say, it is the holidays you need to live a little. You can start your “diet” in January after the holidays. One of the best I have heard at work, “Brian, you don’t like sweets.” I mean come on, who does not like sweets. I choose not to eat them, because I bet you can’t just have one. How do you overcome these obstacles and more to make holiday dinners as healthy for you and your family as possible?
Have dinner at your place – this will ensure you are comfortable and can have control over what is served in your home. Also, cooking dinner at home allows for you to save on the cost of eating out which is extra expensive on Holidays. Also, you do not have to pay an inflated tip for a big party, and you do not have to worry about setting up reservations. You can have dinner at your house when it is convenient for you.
Have everyone contribute – my wife and I had to talk about this one. We have decided to have everyone who is attending to contribute ten dollars each for the food we will be serving and some of them will be bringing their own desert. This helps to offload the expense of serving our food which can be quite expensive sometimes when you are using whole, organic foods for your dinner.
I know some of you may not be keen on this idea, but where are you going to eat a clean, home-cooked meal for ten dollars on Thanksgiving with not tip? I think it is the perfect win-win for everyone involved. Otherwise, having holiday dinners at your house can start to feel like a burden when you are the one taking on all the expense and responsibility for making it happen. My family does the cooking, hosting, cleaning and provides the food for just ten dollars. Our other family members do not have a big enough place to host everyone.
Be an example for others– by serving healthy food at Thanksgiving, you are being a great example for other family members and friends who attend. Many people still believe in the notion that healthy food does not taste good. You can be an example of how healthy food can taste great and be good for you. I don’t know how you feel about this, but something bugs me about serving others I love food I would not eat myself. I want to feed them the same clean food I would feel comfortable feeding my wife and children, especially with it being in our house.
Leftovers – Yes, one of the greatest things about having holiday dinner at your place and buying the food yourself is you get to keep the leftovers. Also, these are leftovers that you do not have to feel guilty about because you made them yourself and you know what is in them. Since I hate to waste food, I would often think to myself I just need to eat up all these leftovers and then I can get back on track with my health. But until these are gone, I feel like I am not making any progress. This is important if you do not want to delay getting healthier until after the holidays.
The Experience – I think the experience of hosting holiday dinners in your own home and sitting around after the dinner and talking is one of the great joys in life. I think of the Christmas movies I have seen where the family all gets together at their home to share a meal. It seems to me this can be difficult when everyone is meeting at a restaurant, Especially if you get seated quickly. After everyone eats, nobody wants to stick around and chat. Not so when dinner is at your house. This is an important advantage of having dinner at home. Don’t underestimate how it can bring your family together.
I want to say hosting holiday dinners at your house isn’t perfect and does have its disadvantages, but I think it is a great service you can provide to your family and friends. Let them have a little skin in the game by contributing a little financially to the expense, so you are not dreading this wonderful opportunity and experience to come together.
I think the holidays are a time when you can stick to your healthy habits, and you do not have to put your health on the back burner just to enjoy family or look weird because you are trying to eat healthy.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what my wife is planning to make this Thanksgiving. She usually does the cooking, and I do the shopping and cleaning up after dinner with help.
Here is her list:
Organic Whole Turkey – 2.99 a pound at Aldi – Simple Truth Brand
Organic Stuffing – This is critical to get organic (because of the wheat). You should be able to find this in most stores. My wife will not be eating the stuffing because it is virtually impossible to find a yummy stuffing that is organic and gluten-free. If you do, it is very expensive with poor reviews.
Organic Roasted Beets – We buy these frozen at Walmart for 1.88 a bag.
Organic Green Beans – We will probably get these at Walmart as well.
Roasted Cauliflower – Cauliflower does not have to be organic. It has a low amount of toxins and is on the clean fifteen per the EWG.
All of this should cost us under 50 dollars this year with the contributions from family members.
So, there you have it. How my family is having a healthy and affordable Thanksgiving dinner this year. I would like to hear what you are planning to do to have a healthy holiday meal. Please share with me your ideas for eating healthy during the holidays and how you are making it more affordable. What are the advantages for you to host holidays dinners in your home? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below so I can learn from you and others can as well.
Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!