Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now your fridge is stocked with leftovers ranging from turkey to cranberry sauce. Food waste is a massive issue in the US, and holiday weight gain is real. So how can we reduce food waste from Thanksgiving and turn our leftovers into healthy meals? I’m so glad you asked because I’ve got the answer with these delicious recipes and tips!
A note on exercise and nutrition during the holidays
Before we dive into these delicious recipes, I did want to talk about the elephant in the room. For most people, the holidays quickly cause a downhill spiral for our healthy habits. We are busier, surrounded by more indulgent foods, and stress is higher.
Working with my nutrition clients, the biggest barrier I often see is that our expectations don’t meet our reality. You may expect to be able to maintain your vigorous workout routine and meal prep schedule even though you have work dinners three out of 5 days in the work week. If you cannot adhere to it, you may think you’ve failed, and just have to wait until the season ends to start up again.
Wellness isn’t an all-or-nothing mindset
Instead of feeling guilty or frustrated that you are unable to stick to your “normal” routine, I have an alternative solution. You can consider that the habits themselves can be flexible in what they look like.
An alternative might look something like this: you pick 3-4 days that you can exercise, and you go for a walk on the other days. A nutrition-related example could look like this: you focus on getting protein and vegetables with each meal (including work dinners).
Speaking of protein…
As we focus on shifting the expectation of healthy habits during the holidays, here are some healthier turkey recipes for your leftovers. Protein intake is usually the first thing to dwindle if we aren’t paying attention to it, so let’s put the turkey to good use!
Healthier leftover turkey breast (or thigh!) recipes
While it may not be the most flavorful meat, turkey is packed with protein and other nutrients. Eating turkey covered in gravy and canned cranberry sauce may not be the healthiest option, however. Here are some alternative recipes you can use to have for the week.
Hearty Turkey Salad. The recipe calls for chicken, but swap it for your leftover turkey and it’s still a delicious WFH lunch option!
Tukey Pot Pie Soup. Use your leftover turkey in this comfort food soup recipe that you can feel good about!
Turkey Shepherds Pie. A full meal in one pan? Yes, please. Bonus points for this recipe being almost entirely protein and veggie-based.
The holiday season consists of 40 days, only 3 of which are holidays. That’s only 7% of the total time that you may not be able to control what you eat or how you move. For the remaining 37 days, however, you still have some say in your habits, even if it’s less than your normal.