Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day for giving thanks for all of our blessings. But, let’s get real. For most people Thanksgiving is about the food! From the never ending options around the dinner table to the array of desserts waiting in the kitchen and the leftovers to enjoy for days afterward, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for indulgence – and boy do we pay for it. According to reports, the average Thanksgiving meal sports nearly 4,000 calories. Most people can expect to gain 1-3 pounds during the holiday.
Are you destined to expand your waistline during the Thanksgiving weekend? Not necessarily. There are ways to curb that weight gain and keep your calorie intake reasonable, without taking the fun out of Turkey Day.
Start By Preparing for the Big Day
Taking a few simple precautions before Thanksgiving can help you avoid putting too much in your mouth – and extra pounds around your waist:
- Begin an exercise program before the holidays hit. Start exercising a few weeks before Thanksgiving. This will help to ramp up your metabolism and give you more motivation to exercise after that big dinner.
- It sounds silly, but wear tight fitting clothes to Thanksgiving dinner. This will make you less likely to over eat because you will feel uncomfortable.
- Eat a small healthy meal before the big event. Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with an empty stomach will only encourage you to overeat.
Be Smart With Your Choices
There is no reason to keep yourself from enjoying those special recipes on Thanksgiving. The trick to keeping your calorie count in check is to take smaller portions and stay away from foods you can eat any other time. Don’t waste calories on something you can have next week; use them for those special dishes. Here are a few other smart ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without the guilt – or the gain:
- Limit yourself to one plateful of food
- Take smaller portions
- Choose white meat: skinless turkey breast is only 44 calories per ounce and has just 1 gram of fat when roasted (no deep frying!).
- Eat slowly. This will make the meal last longer and allow you to recognize when you are full
- Choose pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie (this can save you hundreds of calories)
- Eat just the filling of your pie (leave that crust on your plate)
- Instead of slathering your plate in gravy, simply drizzle some across the top of that turkey and potatoes
- Opt for sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
- Be sure to take plenty of vegetables
A Few Last Tips to Help Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
When trying to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without overindulging, try these final tips:
- Drink a glass of water before and after your meal
- Avoid high calorie drinks with your meal
- Leave the table when you are finished – this will keep you from continuing to pick at your food
- Help with the clean-up. Not only will this activity get you moving, but it will keep you from going back to sample more desserts.
- Enjoy some exercise after dinner. Don’t end your meal by plopping on the couch to watch that football game; head outside and get your family involved in a game of your own. If that doesn’t interest you go for a walk or bike ride to clear your head and work off some of those calories.
Thanksgiving should be a day to spend with family, enjoying those special treats you only get at the holidays. Enjoy those traditions – just be smart about how you approach your Thanksgiving table to ensure that you don’t find yourself struggling to get back into your pants after the holidays.