10 Tips to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving
During the winter holidays, we tend to not only see more of our friends and family, but also a few extra inches around the middle. Making better choices doesn’t have to mean you go hungry or without your favorite holiday treats. So here are 10 tips to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving, whether you’re sticking to a diet or just want to make good decisions.
- Drinks: Consider replacing the soda or alcohol with water or low-calorie juices. Save those empty calories for the foods you’ve been looking forward to all year long.
- Breads: Pick 1 piece or slice, and skip the butter or jam. Since these are usually made with butter and milk, you can add another 30 calories or more with a topping! Those could be spent on dessert instead.
- Appetizers: Depending on the situation, bring a veggie and (low fat) dip tray to share! If nothing else, you’ll have a healthy snack and the host will probably appreciate it too. Also consider eating a high protein snack before meal time to help resist the urge to nibble while you wait.
- Main Dish:
- Turkey – White meat is fewer calories but dark meat has more vitamins. Either way, avoid the skin. Baked and basted in low fat chicken stock is also a better choice than deep fried.
- Pork – Select a small slice and pick more vegetables to go with it as has a lot of saturated fat in a single serving.
- Red Meat – Trim your piece before eating and keep the serving smaller than your palm.
- Fish/Seafood – Certainly the healthiest choice, provided it’s baked or grilled and not smothered in cream or cheese sauces.
- Vegetables – Stick to the steamed or baked veggies. Don’t smother them in sauce or butter, but try a new seasoning on top or add a bit of lemon!
- Potatoes – Small portion is the key, or find healthier dishes where the chef used fat free sour cream or yogurt instead of cream and butter. Add herbs and pepper instead of extra butter and salt.
- Pasta – Best to avoid altogether, but if you can’t pass it up, choose pastas made with low fat dressing or made with fresh vegetables mixed in. If all else fails, take a small scoop and pass on the seconds.
- Desserts: Decide ahead of time (if you can) which dessert you want the most. Then take a small piece or serving and eat it slowly. Skip the dishes that you can find the rest of the year and enjoy the treat without feeling guilty.
- Variety: Try new foods, especially vegetables, that are broiled in the oven. Experiment with spices and herbs along with vinegar’s. Bring your own healthy dish for others to try with a sugar substitute or low fat ingredients.
- Activity: Plan a game or activity for the group (or any that want to participate) either before or after the meal! This could be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood or a game of baseball or soccer in the back yard. Get the kids involved. Not only will you burn a few of those extra calories, but everyone can have fun together too!
- Plan ahead: If you aren’t hosting, it can be difficult to know what options will be available. Consider asking the host about healthy options ahead of time, or if you could bring a dish of your own to share. If you are cooking, then replace high fat and calorie ingredients with other choices like greek yogurt instead of sour cream or skim milk instead of whole.
- Leftovers: Remember that most holiday dishes make for awesome leftovers the next day, whether you save some for yourself or send the extras home with your guests to avoid overeating even the next day. Don’t think of it as depriving yourself, but you are sharing the great food with your loved ones as well as being able to savor some for yourself without going overboard.
Finally, no matter how “well” or “poor” you think you did at the end of the day, just remember, even small choices can make a big difference overall, and you should keep trying your best, whatever your motivations may be for not overeating on Thanksgiving.