Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving to Maintain Your Weight

Do you know that the average Thanksgiving dinner has over 2000 calories? It can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline, trying to lose weight or just trying to maintain your weight. The following are some eating tips so that you can still manage your weight and be healthy after the Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself.

If you are a guest of a Thanksgiving dinner:
• Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry. We often eat faster and more when we are hungry—therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.
• Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat, and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
• Turkey – go skinless. Choose your 4-oz turkey portion (ideally, breast meat) skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your calories for the side dishes and desserts.
• Side Dishes – watch your portion size. Go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
• Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items. High fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal. For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar, and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller serving size. Again moderation is the key.
• Drink plenty of water. Alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink plenty of water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated. If you do drink alcohol, limit the amount and have sparkling water between drinks.

If you are the honorable chef of a Thanksgiving dinner:
• Substitute high-fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients.
• Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make a pot of soup with fresh chunky vegetables.
• Experiment with new recipes. Search the internet for delicious, healthy, low-fat Thanksgiving recipes. Experiment!

Try these recipes to make a healthy Thanksgiving dinner: Healthy Thanksgiving Feast

10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, so why not go ahead and splurge? Because gaining weight during the holiday season is a national pastime. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays — and keep the extra weight permanently. But Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight, experts say. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

Get Active
Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.
Make fitness a family adventure. Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity and enjoy the holiday together.

Eat Breakfast
While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast — such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk — so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering. Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices.

Lighten Up
Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. There is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie ingredients.
Suggestions:
Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

Police Your Portions
Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without. Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long.
Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods.
Skip the Seconds. Try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Leftovers are much better the next day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for a delectable dessert.
Choose the Best Bets on the Buffet. While each of us has our own favorites, keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others. White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories. If you keep your portions small, you can enjoy whatever you like.

Slowly Savor
Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness. Spread out the food and fun all day long. At the Finn family Thanksgiving gathering, they schedule dessert after a walk, while watching a movie together. We eat midday, and instead of another meal at dinnertime, we continue the feast with dessert a few hours after the main meal.

Go Easy on Alcohol
Don’t forget those alcohol calories that can add up quickly. Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer. Between alcoholic drinks, (or) enjoy sparkling water so you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober.

Be Realistic
The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss. Shift from a mindset of weight loss to weight maintenance. You will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any weight over the holidays.

Focus on Family and Friends
Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet.