Your Guide to Creating a Healthy Thanksgiving Table Your Digestive System Will Appreciate
If you suffer from a digestive disorder or you are going through colon cancer treatment, the holidays can be a challenging time, especially if your home is the center of family holidays. Thanksgiving can be particularly hard because your condition or treatment may limit what you can eat. And let’s face it; Thanksgiving is all about the traditional dishes that we love.
Your main goal for Thanksgiving is to create a delicious, nourishing menu that will be gentle on your digestive system so you can enjoy the meal as well. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Fresh is best. Avoid processed, pre-packaged or prepared foods that are high in sugar, fat and sodium. Your Thanksgiving table is a celebration of the bountiful harvest of autumn, so plan to prepare fresh, whole foods that your body can easily digest.
- Make your carbohydrates complex. Simple carbohydrates include refined flour and sugar that you will find in cookies, cakes, pies, crackers and white bread. Choose complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, whole fruits, legumes and whole vegetables.
- Incorporate lean proteins throughout the meal. Protein helps build the immune system and repair tissues. Eggs, fish, beans, nuts and lean meats are healthy sources of lean proteins.
- Not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados are healthy for digestion, but be sparing with saturated fats found in animal products. Avoid trans fatty acids from hydrogenated oils found in shortening and processed foods.
- Think local and raw. Your body will receive the most nutrition from fruits and vegetables that have been picked at their nutritional peak, so try to shop locally to find produce harvested in your area. Peeling the fruit or vegetable removes some of the vitamins and minerals, as does the cooking process, so try to alter the produce as little as possible.
Your doctor or dietician can help you select a menu that meets your digestive needs, but here is a sample menu that can be colon-friendly and delicious:
- Roasted lean turkey breast
- Winter salad with spinach, hard-boiled egg, dried cranberries, parmesan cheese and vinaigrette dressing
- Raw vegetable tray with seasonal, local veggies
- Steamed green beans
- Whole cranberry sauce
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Whole wheat rolls
- Brown rice with sautéed vegetables
- Crustless pumpkin pie
Thanksgiving is sure to be a special holiday when you share a delicious meal with the people you love. Make sure to ask for help in meal preparation, and feel confident in sharing your dietary needs with your family and guests. After all, November is also National Family Caregivers Month! A nourishing Thanksgiving meal will refuel your body and equip you with the strength you need to continue your treatment.
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