Contributed by Lisa Luft

Halloween is over and hopefully the temptation of all that candy went with it. But November poses a different kind of threat to derailing your nutrition goals. Thanksgiving is the most food focused holiday in my opinion. And it isn’t just food, but usually very heavy comfort food. Here are some tips to help navigate your way through the minefield and still enjoy your holiday:

If you are hosting, make a couple of those old family favorites, but do your family and friends a favor and introduce them to some new healthy dishes. Maybe try some Brussel sprouts instead of that green bean casserole. Have a “plain” steamed vegetable or salad available. A pan of roasted vegetables is so beautifully colorful and will add to the décor as well as taste delicious. Just pick several you like, such as grape tomatoes, yellow pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion and sweet potato. Toss in some olive oil and balsamic and bake. There are lots of recipes on the interwebs to try if you don’t feel comfortable winging it. Below is a recipe recommended by Coach Lauren for Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing from PaleoOMG. I haven’t made this yet myself so I don’t have tips or suggestions to offer at this point, but I’m sure we all feel confident since Coach Lauren says it’s delicious.

Be sure to put leftovers away in small portions as well. Better yet, send them home with your guests. Traditional stuffing is a red flag food for me. I love the stuff. If I put it away in one big container, I am tempted to scoop myself a heaping helping or go back for seconds. But the small containers are a visible reminder to not overindulge.

If you are lucky enough to just be a guest at someone else’s soiree, offer to bring something that will help you avoid some of the other pitfalls. Something super fresh will help to cut through all the other heaviness.

Overall, make a couple of good choices and then enjoy your favorites. Just remember to be conscious of the portion sizes and you’ll be good. It’s one day. ☺

One last note: Many of us start this particular holiday by running a turkey trot. While many 717ers run the New Cumberland Turkey Trot, I would also like to suggest the one thrown by the Carlisle YMCA. The reason why is because this race offers three different options:
a 5k walk
a 5k run
and a 10K run
I like the 10K option, because then I feel like I can eat whatever I want. A little self-deception never hurt anyone, right? This race also allows for a wide variety of health levels. So it is great to involve the whole family . I think we had 14 out of 21 people do it one year. It was a great way to start the day. Just took a little while to get everyone through the showers when we got home. ☺

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

stuffing1

1 lb ground pork sausage
5 slices of bacon, diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
1 sweet potato (or yam), peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
8 oz container of mushrooms, diced
2 apples, diced
2 T white wine vinegar
1 c dried cranberries
1 c pecans, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, throw diced sweet potato/yam on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, then set aside.
While those cook, pull out a large skillet, place it under medium-high heat and place chopped bacon in it to begin to cook down. When some of the fat has seeped out and the bacon has begun to cook, add your chopped apples, celery, and onions.
When onions begin to become translucent, add ground pork and mushrooms and your white wine vinegar. Let that cook down until pork is almost completely cooked through. You will be placing it in the oven so you want it pretty close to done. (If you’re not sure how long that will be, use your eyes. Pink meat is not what we want here people.) Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Once the sausage is all done, add mixture to a bowl to cool. Now beat your eggs, add to your sausage mixture, and add your chicken broth, along with your sweet potatoes, pecans, and dried cranberries. Mix well.
You can now either use a 9×13 baking dish to place your stuffing in OR place on a foil lined baking sheet. Either way will work.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until everything is a bit browned
Eat it up!

Macro breakdown based on 8 servings:
Fat – 23 G
Carb – 27 g
Protein – 17 g

374 calories/serving