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Talking Turkey And Everything Thanksgiving with Ashley Littleton

As a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Care and Education Specialist with Memorial Hospital of Converse County, the holidays are typically a big topic of conversation. We love our food-centered gatherings, and with these events comes extra stress involved in planning for such a large meal. "Did I make enough food? Are people going to like what I prepared? How am I going to get all of this done before everyone gets here?" These may be some thoughts running through your mind. On top of that, we are worried that the decisions we make for this one day will be poor nutrition choices. Too often, consumers get mixed messages about food and nutrition. Fad diets have taken over our social media accounts and the conversations we have with those around us.

And while no specific type of 'diet" has been shown to be a universal "fix all," there are a few pointers we registered on which all dietitians agree. Getting the most of your vitamins and minerals from multicolored foods is the best way to obtain and use these nutrients. Reducing the amount of animal fat and switching it out for plant fat is almost always better for your heart. Getting an adequate amount of fiber not only makes you feel fuller, and more quickly, but it also has been shown to benefit your colon health. These recommendations and more are detailed in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 - 2020, and while there will be an update to these guidelines shortly, these are tried and true recommendations.

As a dietitian, I am very aware of what types of foods will be high in calories and will not help me meet my nutrition goals. I find that making some smart swaps of one food for another ends up helping me make better choices. For example, instead of green bean casserole, which is typically very high in saturated fat and salt, I may choose to make a quick bag of microwaved green beans with herbs placed on them after cooking. This will be less meal prep and also will add very needed fiber to my intake. But I am just like everyone else and there are some treats and cravings I have to partake in every year. Trust me, I will be sure to still have a piece of my grandma's chocolate cream pie; I will just limit myself to a smaller portion!

Surviving the Holidays is genuinely all about moderation, and an added benefit of moderation and simplifying is reducing the stress that comes along with these gatherings!