Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving: Indulge without guilt!

Did you know the average person gains seven pounds throughout the holidays?!  From Halloween candy to Thanksgiving pies to Christmas baking to New Year’s cocktails…it is easy to add a few pounds.  So let’s check out how you can avoid common nutrition holiday pitfalls this season--starting with the meal that can leave you stuffed and on the couch watching football all afternoon!  There are a variety of Thanksgiving dishes that are scrumptious, but lower in calories.  Take a look at how you can “fine-tune” your indulging , making it easy to treat yourself without killing your waistline!

Before the Meal
Many people make the mistake of “saving up their calories” for the big meal.  The problem is that when you skip meals you end up feeling starving and thus overeat.  So to prevent overeating:
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Exercise! Go for a brisk morning walk or jog to get your metabolism moving and provide you with a natural burst of energy.
  • Do NOT skip meals all day.  Eat small meals and snacks all day so you are not starving upon arriving at Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day as dehydration can make you believe you are hungrier than you actually are.

The Table Setting
The best way to prevent overeating is make it “difficult” to get food…if the food is within arm’s distance, typically people eat more because it is convenient.  So what can you do?
  • Leave the food in the kitchen instead of placing it family style on the dinner table.
  • Use the “small” plate at the meal and if you are still hungry, you can go back for seconds.
  • Only put one serving of each item on your plate; don’t create a mountain of food (I’m one of those that will leave enough room for everything- about 2 tablespoons worth!).

Drink This, Not That!
Wine, martinis and champagne…oh how the calories can add up!  Alcohol is full of empty calories, which means it has a good amount of calories with no nutrients.  The real problem, however, is that alcohol does not make you full like food does so you keep drinking those extra calories.  Make your first goal to drink water then have a drink or two throughout the day and alternate water in between.
  • Drink red wine INSTEAD of a red fruity cocktail -- 4-5 oz wine or champagne = 100-120 calories)
  • Drink light beer INSTEAD of regular beer -- 12 oz light beer = 110 calories (avoid the regular that has over 150 calories per serving)
  • Avoid things like margaritas and fruity drinks as they can have anywhere from 250-600 calories per drink
  • Drink hot chocolate or coffee INSTEAD of eggnog

Eat This, Not That!
Thanksgiving dishes are known for their calories, but there are many healthy choices you can make at the meal and even with dessert.  Check out the TOP 10 healthiest decisions you can make at dinner:
  • Choose a green salad or raw veggie appetizer INSTEAD of chips and dip
  • Choose skinless, white meat turkey INSTEAD of fried or dark meat turkey
  • Choose fresh green beans INSTEAD of green bean casserole loaded with creamy sauces
  • Choose brown gravy INSTEAD of creamy gravy on your mashed potatoes
  • Choose a sweet potato INSTEAD of a sweet potato casserole loaded with marshmallow & sugar
  • Choose bright colorful veggies INSTEAD of a plate loaded with white starches
  • Choose a whole wheat roll INSTEAD of a croissant or flaky biscuit
  • Choose water as your beverage INSTEAD of an alcoholic beverage, sweet tea or soda
  • Choose desserts that are fruit based INSTEAD of chocolate or cheesecake based
  • Choose pumpkin pie INSTEAD of pecan pie

Have Thanksgiving cooking or eating questions for the dietitian? Follow @TxHealthMoms on Twitter Thursday, November 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. CST for a live chat with Amber (hashtag #trimturkey). 

Amber Massey RD, LD
Registered Dietitian
Executive Health Program
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth

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