Tips to survive a Healthy Thanksgiving Feast
Thanksgiving meals are traditionally family events where certain kinds of
food are served. First and foremost, turkey is the featured item in most
Thanksgiving feasts (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes facetiously
referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet
potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, turnips, rolls, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie are
commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. Often guests bring food items or
help with cooking in the kitchen as part of a communal meal.
The key to unwanted stuffing is - everything in moderation.
Water is a dieter's best friend. Drink Plenty of Water: Water helps
control your appetite by making you feel fuller faster.
Eat Slowly: It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you're
full. So, savor your food, drink lots of water and slow down. Give your mind a
chance to catch up with your body. According to experts, 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
Eat Before the Party Starts: Don't go to dinner starving. Eat a healthy
breakfast and a low calorie
snack before hitting the Thanksgiving buffet.
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.
You're less likely to overeat if you've got your appetite under control.
Eat the Special Stuff: Don't blow your precious
calories on large
portions of food you can eat everyday. Fill your plate with small
holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy
desirable, traditional foods. 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
No Seconds: If you eat slowly and drink plenty of water with your
meal, you shouldn't feel the need to go for seconds. If you're being pressured
by your host to take seconds, politely say, "No."
Avoid Finger Foods: Hor d'oeurves can be high in calories and fat. With
the exception of crudité, don't eat anything that doesn't require a knife and
fork. Cooked vegetables also make great finger foods. Go for small amounts of
cooked squash, sweet potato, white potato, beans and carrots.
Survey the Buffet: Before diving head first into the buffet, give it a overlook.
What items will make a satisfying and healthy dinner? What indulgences will
you allow yourself? Limit a
variety of foods as it stimulates the appetite. Only take two items at a time. Don't
put 20 different items on your plate at once.
Stop When You're Full: It sounds obvious, but stopping when you're full is
probably one of the harder things to do at the Thanksgiving table when
everyone else is helping themselves to seconds. It will be easier to stop if
you slow down, drink water, wear snug pants and push away from the table when
Drink Alcohol in Moderation: Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which makes
it that much easier to justify a third helping of marshmallow-encrusted yams.
Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer and between alcoholic drinks, enjoy
sparkling water, this way you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay
Make Healthy Choices: Fortunately, many Thanksgiving mainstays fit into a
healthy diet. Turkey is a great source of protein, and sweet potatoes are
loaded with vitamin A. Just choose wisely. Eat white turkey meat rather than
the dark stuff, which contains twice as much fat. If you're preparing the
meal, cut back on salt and butter in the side dishes. Try to use whole-grain
breads and cereals whenever possible; they are rich in
fiber and the B
vitamins that are not so abundant in simple
carbohydrates (white and refined
grains, cereals, flours, and starches). Brown and wild rice and millet are a
source of some protein, magnesium, fiber and iron. Quinoa is particularly
packed with protein and fiber and other nutrients. Seeds and nuts are good
protein and the good type of fats. Some are very rich in
antioxidants too. Some good combinations are apples with walnuts, mushrooms
and ginger with brown or wild rice, and lentils with barley or rice. And, of
course, your favorite
herbs and spices go with any combination.
Say No: Some people show their love through food. Others may feel
threatened by your diet and pile food onto your plate because it makes them
feel better about themselves. What you put in your body is your business.
Rehearse politely saying "no" in your head. If you've let your hosts know that
you're on a diet, they shouldn't take offense at your abstaining from another
round of gravy-soaked mashed potatoes.
Above all, create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra
calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods. 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.
Be creative and innovative! Have fun and add new foods to your Thanksgiving