How to Keep your Waistline in Check over Thanksgiving

by Amanda Russell

AHH thanksgiving, such a wonderful time of year. It always makes me so excited, as it is the kickstart of the holiday season, social calendars are filled with parties, events and gatherings, but along with more fun is more food and more drinks leading to an ever-expanding waistline. Do you know that the average Thanksgiving dinner has over 2500 calories? This can be a real challenge if you are watching your weight. I have put together some key tips to help you navigate your way successfully through Thanksgiving without depriving yourself (life really is too short for deprivation) but still looking and feeling good when it’s all over!

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

If you’re a guest a Thanksgiving Dinner:
Don't go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry. I know many people who ill fast all day just to gorge at dinner, this is the worst thing you can do. Eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time and maintain your blood sugar levels and metabolism throughout the day.

Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with alean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly, take gulps of water in between and stop when you are full.
Turkey - go skinless: choose your 4-oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your appetite for the side dishes

Choosing Veggies Wisely: When I say stock your plate half full with veggies, this doesn’t mean to go for the creamed spinach or cream of broccoli casserole. You want to choose light vegetables as pure as possible. Try green salad, or cooked green beans. If it looks like its swimming in cream, cheese or oil, go for a smaller amount, always moderate your portion size.

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 helping size. Again moderation is the key.

Drink plenty of water: Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
If you are the honorable chef of a Thanksgiving dinner:
Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients. See table below for a guide.

Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make a pot of soup with fresh chunky vegetables.
Experiment with new recipes: Just do a google search –you will find endless delicious yet healthy low-fat contemporary Thanksgiving recipes. Experiment!

Healthy Recipe Substitution Tips

Recipe calls for... Substitution

  • 1 whole egg 2 egg whites
  • sour cream low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream
  • milk skim or 1% milk
  • ice cream frozen yogurt
  • heavy cream (not for whipping) 1:1 ratio of flour whisked into non fat milk (e.g. 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of non fat milk)
  • whipped cream chilled evaporated skim milk or other low fat whipped products such as Nutriwhip
  • cheese low-fat cheese (please note: non-fat cheese does not melt well if use in cooking or baking)
  • butter light butter
  • cream of mushroom fat-free cream of mushroom



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