During Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.
But eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget about all your favorite foods.
If you’ve got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie – just don’t lose control entirely. Keep your willpower and your wits about you.
Here are five ways I recommend you can avoid overdoing it on one of the greatest food days of the year – while still leaving room for dessert.
1. Stick to healthy portions.
Just one plate of Thanksgiving food is all you get. Fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with turkey or ham.
And the more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers and beets in your veggie spread.
If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you’re going to feel full, but not bloated and tired, because it’s a lighter fare.
It’s a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. But if you’re going to eat dessert, don’t go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes, and instead opt for the cranberry salad.
2. Eat before you indulge.
Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you’re just “saving room” for all the food, or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later. It’s a recipe for overeating.
If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you’re going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon.
You definitely want to have your normal meals because otherwise, whenever we get over-hungry, we overeat.
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3. Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones.
There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, I suggest mixing in chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter.
For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad.
And for dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream – the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein.
Another easy way to cut fat out of your meal is to avoid eating the skin on the turkey. Dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, but limiting your helpings of unhealthy sides or dessert will have a much bigger impact than just eating white meat instead of dark.
If you’re baking homemade pie, opt for whole wheat pie crusts and substitute low-fat or skim milk for evaporated milk.
4. Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating.
Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you’ll lower the risk of overeating.
It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of laying on the couch.
5. Avoid snacking throughout the day.
Once you’ve filled your plate with food, cover up the food and put it away.
When you snack throughout the day, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.
How did you spend this Thanksgiving Day?
Did you overindulge?
Let me know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE.
To your health!