The holidays are officially here! Thanksgiving kicks off a series of exciting and special times for families and loved ones. Between the parties and events, there are a plentiful number of appetizers, meals, drinks and desserts. During these happy times, the average American tends to gain roughly one to two pounds. This amount may not scare you at first, but studies show that this weight gain tends to be stubborn and stick to us over the years.
How do we have a healthy, yet still happy, Thanksgiving? Well, to start, we need to be aware of what our typical Thanksgiving meal may include. Between the drinks and the appetizers, the stuffing and the potatoes, the turkey and the pumpkin pie — not to mention Grandma’s famous casserole — most Americans consume about 4,500 calories! Does that number scare you? I hope so because it scares me.
Instead of acting like most Americans this year, we need to make some changes. I am going to keep this as short and sweet as possible because it really is that easy. To start, breakfast is a must on Thanksgiving morning. One of the biggest mistakes people make on Thanksgiving Day is to try to “save up their calories.” Instead, this leads to overindulgence all at once. Eating three meals’ worth of calories at one meal does not do you any good. Instead, have your regular breakfast. Have a healthy and hearty meal to start an exciting day, and follow that with a “turkey burn” workout. This will set you up for success instead of allowing your hunger to get the better of you when you’re face to face with a tempting feast.
When you arrive at your Thanksgiving gathering, don’t let all of your health smarts fly out the window. You may not be able to avoid many traditional Thanksgiving dishes, but you can still use your portion control smarts. The same rules apply on this night as they do for any other night. At least half of your plate should still include three or more colors, choosing if possible steamed veggies or veggies with less buttery sauces. Next, fill one-quarter of your plate with a starch of your choice. If possible, a whole grain would be fantastic; however, if not, just watch your portion size. Finally, the last quarter of your plate should be filled with lean protein. Of course, turkey is a must, but I suggest removing the skin and enjoying the turkey breast to save on calories and fat.
Wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving evening and whoever surrounds you, I hope you enjoy every minute of this happy day. Food is a huge part of these happy times, but remember to make sure that the majority of your evening is spent with family and friends. Be grateful and happy, but make good choices.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!