A Strategy For Vegetarians:
Heather Bauer is a nationally recognized Registered Dietitian and mother of three kids who has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live, and The Tyra Banks Show.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choices — biscuits, cheese, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie — the list goes on. But vegetarian or no, head into the meal with a strategy and you won’t come out feeling like a sack of potatoes (or that you’ve deprived yourself of a great meal).
First Things First: Don’t go to your Thanksgiving meal hungry. If you’re starved, you’ll walk in and stuff yourself on hors d’oeuvres. Take a seat that’s more than an arm’s distance from food, and limit your apps to just one mini plateful.
The Main Event: As a vegetarian, it can feel like you’re missing out on the main event: the turkey. But there are other ways you can get the taste, texture, and nutrition of turkey like tofu, seitan, or tempeh. Look for organic, non-GMO soy products if you can.
While making or bringing a tofurkey for the big day may not be realistic, there are ways to have a full, satisfying meal with just the traditional stuff on the table. I always tell people to break the meal into 3 quadrants: 1 protein (traditionally, turkey), 1 green and 1 carb (that’s the size of your fist). For vegetarians, you can use this same idea, but rather than a plate of all carbs, try a dish with a good protein source like quinoa, bean or lentil salad, then keep the veggie and carb quadrants the same.
The Curtain Call: My other big tip to keep Thanksgiving from sabotaging your whole diet is to choose one indulgence. That may be your slice of pie or cheesecake at the end of the night OR it’s that serving of sweet potato and marshmallow casserole during the meal, but not both. If you’re going with dessert, your main plate may be your protein source, a green veggie and a salad. Really want that bread stuffing? Make that your carb quadrant. You can enjoy the things you’ve come to love at Thanksgiving without totally derailing your healthy diet.