My Healthy Tips to Avoid Feeling Like a Stuffed Turkey on Thanksgiving

There’s a little less than a week to go until we will be sitting down to one of the the biggest meals of the year. Which just may leave you wondering, How am I ever going to practice a healthy lifestyle during Thanksgiving?” It is possible; you can enjoy a wonderful turkey dinner along with everyone else, don’t you worry a bit!

I admit this is probably the toughest day of the year to stay focused on eating healthy, especially if you are trying to continue a successful weight loss. But it’s very doable… the goal here is for you to relax, enjoy your meal, and know that you won’t end your healthy lifestyle just because of this one day of turkey temptations.

Thanksgiving Day Breakfast?

A few guidelines to remember: When you wake up on Thanksgiving morning, do NOT skip breakfast just because you know you’ll be eating a huge meal later. A good breakfast, such as hot oatmeal, will fill your stomach and allow you to avoid those high-calorie appetizers that may be offered to you by a well-meaning relative. If you don’t eat breakfast, you’ll be more likely to overindulge on items like these because you’ll feel like you can’t wait until the turkey is on the table to eat.  Breakfast is a must this day!

If you would like to enjoy an appetizer, please keep this in mind:  instead of taking several, allow yourself just one of each, realizing that another of that same appetizer tastes identical to the first. You don’t need it, and avoiding a second will save you numerous extra calories. My motto: One bite tastes the same as 20.

I do realize that on days such as these we are in the mood to munch. That’s OK, but try to locate the fresh fruit and vegetables but skip the dip. Or try the trick that works for me: I water down my favorite dip and use that instead. I still enjoy the taste of the dip but the calories are cut in half.

As for the Thanksgiving meal itself, there will be dishes that are loaded with calories and some that are not (click here for a quick reference). I make the decision before I sit down to allow myself a little more of the lower-calorie items and a smaller portion of the high-calories ones, then I quickly pass the dish to the person next to me. Rolls and butter are not an option for me, but I will say that I do enjoy a little gravy on my mashed potatoes but never add any butter on the potatoes like I used to. Did you know that there are approximately 100 calories in one single tablespoon of butter? No thanks, I’ll pass on that.

Meat of the Matter

I wanted to mention the turkey meat, since that is the focus of the feast. Now most of us have been told that white turkey meat has fewer calories than dark meat, but I’ve learned that each has about 340 calories for a 6-ounce serving. Dark turkey meat does contain greater amounts of iron, zinc, riboflavin, and thiamin, according to my friend, Joy Bauer, nutritionist from NBC’s Today Show. She also informed me that no matter which you prefer, it’s best to discard the skin, which is where the majority of the fat is.

We can’t forget the beverages, which can add hundreds of calories to your meal. I suggest that you stick with teas, coffee, water or no-sugar colas, which have less than 5 calories per serving and are a more sensible choice compared to high-calorie drinks such as a 7-ounce glass of wine (a whopping 320 calories!).

And last but not least, what typically follows the meal is the amazing dessert table. Oh boy.

I want you to enjoy some dessert, just not all of it. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving, and if you want a small piece of pumpkin pie then have some! Yes, you are splurging a little bit, but remember that there are 21 meals to consume next week — if you go overboard one day it’s not the end of the world.

Enjoy the meal, the people, the atmosphere … oh, and the WALK you’ll be taking after the dishes are done! It’s all part of a healthy lifestyle — the one that will keep you feeling your best as you approach the upcoming December holiday festivities. Oh yes, another month of fabulous food & fun to go … stay STRONG!

How do you beat the bulge on Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear your tips.

Photo by pixonomy

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