Here are three simple steps to a healthier and happier Thanksgiving dinner:
1. Eat your usual breakfast.
Do not skip any meals to save calories for later in the day. This will only make you overeat and will end up working to your disadvantage by making you consume more calories than if you were to eat all of your other meals like normal. Eating a breakfast and snack that is rich in protein and fiber will keep you full and satisfied until your big meal. (If your "big meal" is dinner, eat a healthy lunch and protein rich snack).
2. Chat up your friends and relatives to burn extra calories.
Nothing is worse than sitting around like a couch potato at holiday parties. Getting up and walking around burns more calories than sitting, which will help to offset the extra calories that you are going to consume. And, no matter your age, don't be afraid to participate in that game of pick-up football outside. If you can't throw a football to save your life and are the farthest thing from a social butterfly (like me!!) plan an exercise earlier in the day, or go Black Friday Shopping! You can burn about 180 calories per hour while shopping. If you shop for four hours, you could burn 720 calories. That could burn off my whole Thanksgiving meal!
3. Choose your food wisely and with moderation in mind.
Is sweet-potato casserole your favorite Thanksgiving side dish while you eat mashed potatoes just for tradition sake? Great! Instead of indulging in two fattening dishes just get one serving of your favorite and savor every bite. If there is a relish plate or fresh salad bowl fill half of your plate with these veggies to reduce the amount of unhealthy food you pile on. Next comes the meat. Should you choose turkey or ham? It doesn't matter, as long as you choose your slice wisely. Get white, skinless turkey breast to get the leanest cut. Watch your serving size for both meats however. Remember that a 3 oz serving is the size of a deck of cards. And as for dessert? Well, I can't tell you to just eat fruit like I am doing, so I will advise you to pick two desserts only. Maybe its one small slice of pumpkin pie and one cookie. Eat them until you are satisfied and don't be afraid to leave some crumbs (or whole cookies... whatever floats your boat).
If you prefer stricter guidelines, here is a good healthy example of some things you can eat for Thanksgiving without breaking the calorie bank:
- skinless turkey breast (120 calories, 1 gram fat) vs. ham slice (140 calories, 7 grams fat)
- mashed potatoes and gravy (125 calories, 5 grams fat) vs. sweet potato casserole (190 calories, 4 grams fat)
I also found a helpful link HERE for all of you dieters out there to easily count up your Thanksgiving Dinner in one big swoop (Plus it tells you how much to exercise to burn it all off... Awesome, no?)
Then, after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I will be posting a revision on the classic...
Of course, Healthy Apple pie!
Meanwhile, here is a sample meal plan for Thanksgiving Day:
Lunch: THANKSGIVING FEAST!
(or other high-fiber snack)