The most coveted meal of the year is right around the corner and with that meal comes a full army of calories that are looking to take a notch off of your belt after this glorious Thanksgiving Day feast. From appetizers to drinks and the main meal to the desserts, Thanksgiving dinner can be like kryptonite to Superman for healthy eaters.
However, contrary to popular belief, this meal does not have to derail your healthy eating habits completely. Staying on the right track takes some pre-planning, smart choices and making simple ingredient swaps that can lead to an enjoyable, healthy Thanksgiving Day meal.
Take a look at these five simple steps to maintaining, not gaining, weight over Thanksgiving break.
1. Don’t forget to work out – On Thanksgiving Day, working out is beneficial because it creates a calorie deficit by burning off extra calories before dinner. Although you can’t out-exercise a calorie dense meal, you can level the playing field by fitting in extra steps throughout the day or lengthening your exercise routine. Lacking motivation? Enlist the help of your family to go for a walk early in the day or after dinner. This is a great way to get the family together and enjoy the holiday.
2. Eat breakfast – Don’t forget to start Thanksgiving with a healthy breakfast. By eating something in the morning, you can have more control over your appetite throughout the day. Not sure what to eat for breakfast? Try to start your day with a small but fulfilling breakfast such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast. This option offers a healthy balance of protein and fiber which can keep you feeling fuller, longer.
3. Set realistic goals – This time of year is not known to be easy to lose weight. Instead of setting unrealistic goals of a dramatic weight loss, set small, attainable goals such as maintaining rather than gaining during the holidays.
4. Choose wisely – Thanksgiving dinner is a bountiful feast. Before you fill your plate with delicious food, take a look around the buffet table and decide which foods you really want. Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can eat all year long. Instead, fill your plate with smaller portions of your holiday favorites and try to resist going back for seconds.
5. Lighten up your meal – Butter, heavy cream and oil; these are just a few of the ingredients used to cook our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Swapping simple ingredients in recipes can help lighten your traditional dishes. For example, try plain, non-fat Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream to add to creamy dips or use a sugar substitute in place of sugar when baking. These simple swaps can save you many unwanted calories and grams of fat.
It is definitely possible to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast while watching calories. Happy Thanksgiving!