10 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain During Thanksgiving

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • Can you believe the holiday season is already upon us? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, before you know it Christmas will be here!


    It has been estimated that some Thanksgiving dinners contain over 2000 calories, and it's easy to see why, with all those buttered potatoes, candied yams, and creamy casseroles!


    So, with that in mind, now would be a good time to start thinking about how you plan to eat healthier this Thanksgiving.

    10 tips to help you make this Thanksgiving holiday a heart healthy holiday:

    #1 Don't go hungry
    Make sure you have a healthy breakfast, such as oatmeal, and a substantial lunch that day, so that you avoid feeling so famished you overeat at dinner.

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    #2 Dinner plate rules
    It's not always possible to control the ingredients in your meal, but you certainly can limit your portion size.

    Fill half of your plate with steamed (unbuttered) vegetables, and then allow one quarter for starchy carbohydrates, and one quarter for lean meat - remember a portion of meat is around 4 ounces. You can also avoid unnecessary calories by not eating the turkey skin.

    #3 Healthier potatoes
    Sweet potatoes are actually more nutritious than white potatoes, due to their beta-carotene and vitamin C content, although white potatoes are also okay in small portions. Rather than loading your potatoes with lashing of cream and butter, go for skimmed milk, fat free sour cream, and season with pepper and nutmeg.

    #4 Make your own cranberry sauce

    Try making your own cranberry sauce rather than using the store bought variety, which tends to be very high in sugar. Search online, or check out food magazines and healthy cookbooks for a simple recipe.

    #5 Try vegetarian stuffing
    You can make a healthier version of stuffing by going for something vegetarian, containing wholegrain bread, onions, herbs, apples, celery, raisins, and walnuts.

    #6 Cut your gravy portion

    Save a few extra calories simply by having a smaller portion of gravy, particularly if it has been made using the turkey drippings, which are high in fat.

    #7 Make dessert healthier
    If you plan to make pumpkin pie, why not try using non-fat evaporated milk rather than the traditional full fat cream? This will significantly reduce the calorie content.

    #8 Drink water instead
    A really simple way to save calories is to choose water instead of alcohol and soft drinks. You can easily save 200kcals plus by doing this. Remember, small changes add up and will make a difference.

    #9 Snack on whole foods
    Unsalted nuts are a great choice for your snack table because they're loaded with healthy fats. Veggie crudités with a low fat dip are always an acceptable option. Or, you could go for a platter of fresh fruit for something completely refreshing.

    #10 Leftover quandary
    Leftovers can be a real problem, especially if you can't resist picking away at them afterwards. To prevent this, make sure all guests go home with a container of food. If you still have leftover turkey make a pot of soup and include plenty of vegetables.


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    For more articles just like this, click here. Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of the award winning Dietriffic.com.


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    Test your knowledge of the calories in traditional Thanksgiving foods and learn how to cut more calories this year. Take the quiz!

Published On: November 12, 2008