If you are caught between looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner and being concerned about an expanding waistline, you shouldn’t be.
Media reports about holiday weight gain are often grossly exaggerated because the “shock” value drives readers and viewers to click on a link or stay glued to the TV with their eyes wide open and jaw a few inches lower. And, that unnecessary fear will oftentimes take the enjoyment out of this time of year or lead people to believe they are destined to gain weight so they might as well overindulge. But, research shows the average weight gain is just one pound (those who are overweight or obese tend to gain more then people who are normal weight).
So, relax, and enjoy this national holiday while keeping these sensible, healthy eating tips in mind:
- Eat a higher protein breakfast
Studies show eating a higher protein breakfast will keep your stomach satisfied for a longer period of time so you aren’t as hungry during the day. Don’t skimp on calories in the morning to “save up” for dinner because this approach will likely backfire causing you to overeat.
- High protein cereal
- Protein shake or smoothie
- peanut butter
- Put a few new players in the game
Make healthier ingredient substitutions that don’t sacrifice the taste of your dish:
- Use chicken broth (regular or low sodium) or skim milk + low fat sour cream instead of butter to flavor mashed potatoes. Keep soft spread out and regular butter and let your guests decide which to use.
- Eat turkey, white or dark meat, but toss the skin! If you deep-fry your turkey, keep the temperature high at all times so your turkey absorbs less fat from the oil.
- Choose a bread-based stuffing over corn stuffing and cook it separately from the turkey or it will soak up the turkey fat (and actually draw moisture away from your turkey). Try cooking stuffing in chicken broth for flavor and add chopped celery and onions for more flavor and less fat.
- Choose your dinnerware size wisely
Grab a salad plate for your main meal. Doing this ensures that you you will eat a reasonable portion of each dish. Dish up more of the vegetables like salad, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes than the higher calorie dishes.
- Make a plate to go
If you are overwhelmed with the sheer number of food options and find that you are tempted to try everything, go ahead and make a plate to go. You’ll still get the opportunity to try each delicious dish but you won’t have to stuff it all in on one day.
- Focus on the company
Thanksgiving should be about friends and family. Grab your meal then move away from the serving line and focus on catching up with everyone. Soon you’ll forget about going back for seconds.
- Take a Walk
Either before or after the meal try to make time to take a walk or do some kind of physical activity instead of just sitting in front the the TV. How about a game of touch football?
Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!