This year we have so much to be thankful for, it’s tempting to splurge at the dinner table. Most people pack on a pound or more during the holiday season, and year over year that extra weight becomes permanent.
However, according to Medical West Hospital, there are strategies that won’t sabotage your weight and still allow you to enjoy the foods of the season.
- Stay active. You could create a calorie deficit before Thanksgiving Day by exercising a little more than usual. Many communities organize Turkey Trots on or near the big day, so you may want to consider signing up with the family. Or simply go for a long walk in the morning while the turkey is roasting. And take a stroll after the meal to help digest.
- Eat breakfast. It may seem counterintuitive to eat before the big spread, but experts say that having a small meal in the morning gives you more control over your appetite. An egg and whole wheat toast or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk are two good choices.
- Lighten up your favorite sides. You can reduce the caloric load of many traditional dishes by cutting back on sugar and butter. There is usually too much sugar and fat in most recipes, and no one will notice the difference if you streamline the calories. Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey, mash potatoes with plain yogurt, and use fruit purees in baked goods instead of sugar.
- Go heavy on the vegetables. Lisa Sasson, a clinical professor at New York University’s department of nutrition and food studies, suggests that a good rule for filling your plate at a Thanksgiving buffet is to load up with an array of colorful veggies such as beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Keep starchy vegetables to the size of an ice cream scoop, she tells Business Insider.
- Don’t drink too many calories. Limit sugary beverages and alcohol on Thanksgiving Day. Sip a glass of cider or wine and then switch to water or seltzer for the rest of the meal.
- Avoid the crust on desserts. There probably will be apple or pumpkin pie — or both! — at the feast so consider just eating the filling to cut calories. If you are baking dessert, make an apple cobbler with crumbs just on the top so that it is all about the filling.
- Skip the seconds. Try to resist the temptation to go back for seconds. Leftovers are much better the following day, say the experts at Medical West Hospital. Limit yourself to one nourishing plate with a reasonable portion of white meat turkey, roasted vegetables, and salad.
- Focus on family and friends. While we look forward to Thanksgiving bounty, this is truly a time to cherish our loved ones gathered around the table, not just the food on it. It may have been a while since your last get together so spend quality time and enjoy the meal with gratitude.
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