Four Tips for Celebrating a New American Plate Thanksgiving

Roasted TurkeyU.S. Thanksgiving is all about the food – giving thanks, family time and football, yes – but the turkey (or tofu-turkey) and fixings are what really unite us as a nation on the fourth Thursday of November.

Beyond that, however, Americans' opinions and passions about sweet potatoes (with or without marshmallows) and dressing (cornbread or wheat bread), for example, differ widely. Whatever your favorite, you can enjoy them all on Thanksgiving and still maintain those healthy changes you’ve just started or been working on all year. Here’s how:

2/3 veg, 1/3 meat the New American Plate
  1. Heap Your Plate with Health. It’s easy to follow the New American Plate model for Thanksgiving. Portion 1/3 or less of your plate for turkey, choose smaller portions of dressing and potatoes and leave ample space for green beans, broccoli, cranberries, sweet potatoes and other colorful sides.
    If you’re looking for a healthier spin on some old favorites, try these AICR recipes: Whole Grain Stuffing with Cranberries and Walnuts, Southwestern Gluten-Free Cornbread Dressing and Honey Roasted Parsnips with Sweet Potatoes and Apples.
  2. Get Up and Go. Put on your sneakers and take a walk between the main event and dessert. The pie will taste better and you’ll be more awake to enjoy it. If you want some help getting started with physical activity or want to track your progress, join our It’s Never Too Late to Lower Your Risk campaign.
  3. Pare Down the Pie. Choose your favorite dessert(s) and keep the portion sizes small. If you can’t decide between the apple and pumpkin, take a sliver of each, and savor each bite. This year, try an updated, healthier version of apple pie from the AICR Test Kitchen.
  4. Avoid Excess Alcohol. If you include alcohol with your feast, smart choices could be a favorite wine or mixed drink – 1 standard size for women, 2 for men. Alcohol is a cause of several cancers, including breast and colorectal, so now is a good time to develop a strategy to get through the entire holiday season without overdoing it.

Read more about the New American Plate and find more recipes.

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