The entire point of Thanksgiving is to celebrate a meal with friends and family once a year, so it’s really easy to over-indulge. In fact, we’ve probably all experienced that miserable way-too-full feeling after the meal when you ask everyone within earshot “Why did I eat so much?!”
But it’s not just the amount of food you consume; the dishes you choose to eat can have a big impact on your digestive system. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant, it’s probably not a good idea to eat Grandma’s mashed potatoes, which are full of milk and dripping with butter. It’s easy to tell yourself, “Oh, Thanksgiving is only once a year! How bad could it be?” The answer is: bad. It could be very bad.
Many people throw their diets out the window when the holidays arrive, which can wreak havoc on their waistlines and their gastrointestinal systems. With a bit of preparation, however, you can enjoy Thanksgiving without making yourself miserable! Here are some healthy Thanksgiving dishes that aren’t likely to cause you digestive distress. Digestive Health Centers is happy to share their wealth of knowledge about preventing gastrointestinal distress, restoring gut health, and more. Add these 5 things to your table this November and your stomach will thank you.
Make sure it’s not loaded with sugar. Use real whole cranberries instead of the jellied kind in a can. Cooked fruits are generally easy to digest. At around 50 calories per cup, cranberries are packed full of fiber, and they do a body good. Cranberries have been shown to slow the growth of several types of cancer cells, prevent urinary tract infections, and can help your cholesterol.
Pumpkin is easy to incorporate into soups or breads. Half a cup of canned pumpkin is only 42 calories, and it contains about 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement.
Not in the traditional sweet potato casserole, but roasted or baked. You and your family may be used to a sweet potato confection loaded with sugar, butter, and marshmallows, but think about how much a baked sweet potato can add to your meal! Maybe with some butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Or perhaps cut some sweet potatoes into squares and roast them, adding a light maple syrup glaze before serving. Sweet potatoes are made of soluble fiber, meaning that they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
Spinach & Kale Salad
If you add a salad made of fresh spinach or kale, you’ll be sure to get the proper nutrients, even if you eat too much pie later. Spinach and kale leaves contain important vitamins and minerals, and when tossed with a light dressing and perhaps some pecans, cranberries, and goat cheese, it will make an excellent addition to turkey!
The main thing to remember when sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner is not to overdo it. If you don’t normally eat many cruciferous vegetables, don’t eat three helpings of Brussels sprouts during the meal. Or if you don’t normally indulge in rich foods, stay away from Aunt Carol’s Triple Delicious Ooey Gooey brownie bites. It can be difficult to do when faced with an extravagant feast, but try to remember that 15-30 minutes of yummy taste isn’t worth hours or days of digestive upset!
Whether or not you choose to overdo it or keep it light this year, it isn’t a conclusive forecast of your digestive health. If you’d like to discuss your GI health with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologists, call us at (214) 646-3459 today or schedule an appointment online!