Thanksgiving is coming up, and the food coma generally associated with Turkey Day isn’t really in line with our healthy eating plans, is it? You’ve heard the estimations of how many calories are in the average Thanksgiving meal…amounts that no one would ever knowingly/willingly consume if we were aware of just how much we were actually eating. Have you ever been to a restaurant and ate what you would have guessed to be a 500-700 calorie meal, only to later find out it was well over 1,000? We can’t always be the best at estimating how much we are eating, but there are things we can do to make sure we can still zip up our pants at the end of the day. So here are a few tricks you can use to help keep the calorie count down on Thanksgiving:
1. Eat breakfast. It might seem counter-intuitive to eat more that day, but having a small breakfast will help prevent you from being starving by the time you reach the dinner table.
Getting to the table feeling like you could eat everything on the table by yourself isn’t doing yourself any favors. This doesn’t have to be you!!
2. Use a smaller plate. If that’s not possible, pay attention to your portion sizes! Making your plate into a food version of NYC, full of skyscrapers, isn’t doing yourself any favors. Try filling half of your plate with vegetables rather than the mac & cheese and stuffing taking up most of the space on the plate.
3. Skip the dinner rolls. Seriously, when was the last time you thought about Thanksgiving and wished you had eaten more dinner rolls? Yes, they’re good, but they are forgettable and you’ve got better things you can be spending your calories on! Easy way to cut 100 calories.
4. JUST SAY NO to all the sugary drinks! All the sugar is just empty calories…why waste your calories on drinks you can have any time of the year? Opt for water or a flavored seltzer water during dinner instead of soda (and if you must drink soda, go for diet). Unsweetened tea and black coffee work well too. Drinking alcohol? A little wine, champagne, or beer isn’t going to bust your waistline, but just drink in moderation because alcohol still contains calories and it can add up fast!
5. Step away from the whipped cream. And/or ice cream. You can still enjoy your pie without piling on the whipped cream, and you definitely save some calories.
6. “But I want to have both desserts!” Have multiple types of pie? Get half a slice of each instead of the full portion, that way you can still have both without going too overboard. Also skip the crust on the pie if you can.
7. Take a walk. Plan a brisk walk in the morning, as well as after dinner. Make it a family event! Make it a priority.
Generally after a big meal all we want to do is this:
But you have to fight that urge – get outside and get walking!
8. Be realistic. You probably are not going to lose weight, but you don’t have to gain weight. Making smart choices can keep you on track and not set you behind…it’s too easy to lose progress so don’t make your hard work go to waste!
9. Eat those veggies! To keep them healthy and low calorie, try roasting and drizzling them with either lemon or balsamic vinegar – you’d be surprised how tasty veggies can be when they aren’t first frozen then steamed. (If you must put cheese on them, parmesean is a great choice because it’s fairly low cal but still has a lot of flavor). On that note – skip all the sugar in the sweet potatoes…they are already sweet by themselves! Try adding just a little butter and cinnamon instead.
10. Say yes to turkey. No to ham or anything fried. Fried foods have too many calories to be messing around with on Thanksgiving! And go easy on the gravy. And stuffing. (We know. It’s hard.)
These things may seem small, but if you add them all together, they add up and you can save yourself from eating a significant amount of unnecessary calories.
One more thought – if you are trying to lose weight and have been considering our HCG weight loss program, think about starting the program on Thanksgiving. The first 2 days are considered “loading days”, which means you can eat whatever you want…so you could be free to really indulge on Thanksgiving without the guilt.