Load up on lean protein FIRST
Turkey breast (all white-meat without the skin) is a great source of filling protein. Fill ¼ of your plate with this Thanksgiving staple. Is dark meat more pleasing to you than whit meat? Enjoy a small portion without the skin and a larger portion of white meat. If you can’t eat your turkey without gravy or cranberry sauce, limit your amount to about the size of a shot glass of each. Healthy tip: protein takes longer to digest than carbs so eat your meat first to stabilize your blood sugar and save calories from the starchy sides.
Pick the fresh veggieS
Whether that means salad (with light dressing), green beans or roasted Brussel sprouts, pile them on your plate to add bulk and save calories. And no, vegetables hidden in casseroles (green bean casserole/sweet potato casserole) don’t count. Healthy tip: Choosing vegetables with a crunch (like roasted or blanched) brings texture to your plate and helps you feel satisfied.
Choose one or TWo splurge itemS
Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, ……these staples are usually loaded with saturated fat, starchy carbohydrates, and tons of calories, but they are classics none the less. Choose one or two of your favorites and keep your total portion to about the size of your fist. Healthy tip: Skip the rolls and save your splurge for your grandma’s coveted stuffing or aunt’s homemade pie. If you eat your protein and veggies first, a bite or two of these splurge items will be all you need.
With the exception of fresh cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie (sans the whipped cream!) is one of the healthiest desserts at Thanksgiving. Plus it’s known for being high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Healthy tip: to judge a healthy portion, make a peace sign with your fingers. The widest part of the slice should equal the distance between your index and middle finger.
Go for a walk, then eat desserT
As soon as you arrive at your Thanksgiving feast tell the family you plan to go for a walk after your meal. Chances are you will recruit some buddies that will be more than happy to join you. Plus, a brisk post dinner walk will burn some calories and avoid the dreaded Thanksgiving guilt hopefully leading to a little self-control at the dessert table. Healthy tip: plan a workout for the next morning to get back on track with your goals and work off some of the extra calories from the day before.