If you’re the chef in your household you may have started thinking about Thanksgiving meal shopping and preparation. Now I don’t know about you, but I have quite a few tennis players in my family and half of us are on the court just hours after eating — in fact, I’m fairly certain the only time my mother and her sister put their rackets down during the holiday weekend is to say grace. While I’m not encouraging this type of tennis fanatic behavior (please, lounge on the couch if you want), there’s actually quite a few Thanksgiving foods that will boost your energy if prepared the right way. If you want to be health conscious this Thanksgiving or need to get on the tennis court the next day, here’s some items to include on your menu.
Why it’s good for you: Thanksgiving’s traditional entree is so rich in protein that one serving can provide two-thirds of your recommended daily protein intake. The bird contains all types of vitamin B, which are essential for your body’s energy production.
How to prepare it: I’ve always been told that white meat found in the breast of turkey is healthier than dark meat found in legs and thighs. That’s true if you’re counting calories. However, if you struggle to get enough iron in your diet, dark meat contains more of this essential nutrient. I always know when I’m lacking in iron because I feel too fatigued to exercise. If you’ve been feeling this way lately, pile some turkey leg on your plate!
Why they’re good for you: Sweet potatoes have a lot of health benefits for active tennis players. They’re high in potassium just like your beloved bananas and contain magnesium, the “anti-stress” mineral. Vitamins found within the vegetable also contain properties that contribute to longevity and disease prevention.
How to prepare them: If you’re only going to put one type of spud on the supper table opt for these orange guys over white potatoes. They contain more fiber, which means the caloric energy they give you will be used more efficiently in your body. In addition, while marshmallows have long been a popular topping on this Turkey Day dish, there are healthier alternatives to give the side some festive flair. My family always makes a sweet potato casserole with pecans — the nut contains antioxidants, fiber and a handful of vitamins.
Why they’re good for you: This tart superfood can help ward off bacterial infections, lower bad cholesterol levels while increasing the good, and are chock full of vitamins and minerals.
How to prepare them: You’ve probably made cranberry sauce before, but what about a low-calorie cranberry cocktail? You’ve got to have a little buzz to handle your crazy relatives, so why not get in the Thanksgiving spirit with some salubrious spirits? Washington, D.C. mixologist Gina Chersevani showed NPR how to make a cranberry drink using pears and simple syrup to sweeten the berry’s acidic taste. View the recipe here to make your own this holiday.