As an individual that by principle should be advocating for a trimmer Thanksgiving feast, even I get frustrated by those who fear this holiday. I am not one who believes in limiting yourself when it comes to special occasions and dining. If you opt out of enjoying the unique snacks or meals, you will fixate on them for much longer than you intend which then leads to a greater chance of over indulging. So, what exactly do you do this Thanksgiving when your favorite Aunt plops your two favorite pies in front of you? How do you resist? Well, my first suggestion this Thanksgiving, is that you don’t! It is all about portion control.
According to the American Council on Exercise, the average American consumes about 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat just from the Thanksgiving meal. This does not include the other 1,000- 2,000 calories that are consumed from the other meals and snacks consumed throughout the day. Filling your plate with a little bit of everything might actually benefit you. Do not over do it and think this is the last time you’ll get to savor the taste of those buttery mashed potatoes until next Thanksgiving. The first few forkfuls are the greatest part anyways, and then you just continue to scarf down the rest of your plate because it is there. Do yourself a favor and try a small portion of each item and then move on. Try to choose the rare, special foods that you do not get offered on a regular basis. I do strongly recommend keeping half of your plates vegetables and fruits, there are such great options this holiday. Do not forget the cranberry sauce- this super antioxidant food should not be left behind (but make sure it is fresh and not canned).
The greatest dilemma of this day is the LEFTOVERS! Most of can’t decide if we love or loathe leftovers. Unfortunately for your waistline, Thanksgiving leftovers are fantastic and might even taste better the next day. There are two ways to look at this dilemma:
Only make what you need and try not to make an abundance of each item so there are no leftovers or you can live for tomorrow’s leftovers. In order to plan for leftovers, do not over eat today. Set aside a small plate for the next day to ensure you will get that holiday fixing you crave so much. Maybe put off eating one of those dishes until the next day so you do not overload your calorie intake that day. It will set your mind at ease and stop you from eating multiple platefuls at once.
A few other holiday suggestions to keep in mind:
- Do not skip breakfast! Eating a hearty, healthy breakfast is key. Most people skip it so that they can “save calories,” but the truth is our hunger does not go away. We over compensate with cheese and crackers, more food at dinner and other higher calorie foods. Eat a handful of nuts, eggs, or muesli to satisfy your needs until Thanksgiving dinner.
- Load your plate up with lean turkey, it only has about 1 gram of fat and 40 calories per ounce (always remove the skin).
- Dress to impress: do not wear baggy, loose fitting clothes in preparation for this feast. Lean towards the form fitting clothes, it might make you think twice before going crazy on the stuffing and rolls, so you don’t have to unbutton those pants or loosen a few notches on the belt. Have the mentality of “look good, feel even better”.
- Instead of sitting around on the couch all day with your loved ones, get everyone together for a touch football game, or another activity of choice. Get up and get moving- you’ll feel great about this decision as the day progresses.
We all know how difficult it is to be healthy on Thanksgiving, but with a little motivation and following some of these holiday tips above, you can eliminate some of the unwanted calories this year. Take matters into your own hands and have a happy and healthier Thanksgiving!