1. Don’t Skip Breakfast or Lunch: Be sure to make eating a healthy breakfast part of your Thanksgiving eating plan. Skipping breakfast not only slows down your metabolism — something you definitely don’t want to do before a big meal — but it can also lead to eating more calories later in the day. If your meal isn’t starting until your usual dinner time, fasting the entire day will leave you ravenous. Eat solid yet light meals so your feast isn’t the first bite of food in the day.
2. Don’t Eat too Much too Soon: Research suggests we can consume as many as 1200+ calories before we even sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meal. To avoid this, be mindful of how much you eat before you sit down to the meal – that includes appetizers, taste-testing, and drinking. Have a bowl of raw carrots in the kitchen and save all your taste-testing for when you sit down to enjoy a beautiful meal, and if you’re enjoying wine try to stick to one glass before the dinner actually starts.
3. Sign-up for your local Turkey Trot: If you go up for fourths, drink a bottle of wine, and pass on the veggies, that 3,500 calorie Thanksgiving meal might happen, you might want to get moving to start burning it off! Here’s how long would it take to burn 3,500 calories:
- 6 hours at 5 mph on a treadmill
- 5 hours of swimming
- 8-9 hours of cycling
4. Stick to Veggies for Appetizers: Thanksgiving typically tends to be a grazing event. Folks arrive leisurely, the game goes into over-time, turkeys are unpredictable. Skip the fatty, cheesy appetizers and stick with the crudités. Raw vegetables are not only low in calories, they are high in fiber, which will help you detox after your big meal. If the veggies are accompanied by a creamy dip, just go easy on the sauce.
5. Drink More: No, not wine, water! Remember that liquid calories count toward your total caloric intake for the day. If you’re attending an all-day event, go easy on the alcohol. If you plan to enjoy a glass or two of wine it’s important to drink a glass of water in between each glass so you don’t find yourself four glasses in midway through dinner. Drinking adequate water throughout the meal can also help you feel satisfied sooner. We often mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure you drink enough fluids throughout the day to not only help keep you hydrated, but also to save you calories.
6. Chat it Up: One easy way to slow down and enjoy your meal is to talk to your neighbors. Thanksgiving is all about friends and family so take the time to catch up with your loved ones.
7. Tasting Menu: If you’re the type of eater that needs to try every dish on the table, use the Pop-sugar spoon rule: simply take a tablespoonful of each dish. This way your palate and curiosity will be satisfied, but your belly will not suffer. Find the couple of foods that you enjoy the most and focus on eating those. You can eat boring mashed potatoes any day of the year.
8. Keep a Bit of Food on Your Plate: Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs – it happens. But don’t feel compelled to finish everything on your plate. Take a breather. If you’re done, stop. The clean plate club isn’t as fun over the age of eight.
9. Skip the Seconds: Yes, we know many of you love to go back for seconds or thirds or fourths (we do, too), but do your best to take what you really want the first round to avoid going back up for more platefuls of food. Those extra platefuls of food can leave you feeling guilty and overloaded later– all of which are unnecessary negative feelings; so do your best to savor your plate the first time around. If you do end up going back for seconds because the food is just too good, aim for small servings because all you probably want is one more taste anyway!
10. Have a Piece of Pie, But Just One: Apple, pecan, pumpkin — no Thanksgiving meal is complete without a taste of pie, but you don’t need a piece of each kind. Grab a slice and savor each bite. This is not the last time you will experience the deliciousness of pie so don’t overdo it.
11. Leftovers: Arguably the best part of Thanksgiving are the leftovers. Remind yourself that you will see this food again, most likely the following day so no need to cram every last bite of sweet potato with marshmallows in. Turkey is great hot or cold and all the fixings reheat nicely. Just be sure to toss the pie after a day or two – no need to keep the sweet temptation around for too long.