When you close your eyes and think of Thanksgiving, we bet that you think of a table full of yummy foods eaten in the company of close friends and family. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to celebrate the bounty of Fall, but it can also be a little too indulgent. Between Halloween and New Year’s Eve the average American gains one pound. While this might not seem like a lot of weight gain, most people do not lose the weight and it compounds year after year. This Thanksgiving make the commitment to be thankful for and celebrate your health. Here are our top tips on how to add to the celebration and not your waistline.
1. Make exercise part of your routine.
A quick online search will reveal plenty of Thanksgiving walks and runs to attend. These are a fun way to get the whole family involved and get the calorie burn on. If you cannot make an organized event, think of creating a family event. We also love the idea of an after dinner or large meal walk. Take the family for a stroll to walk off the just feeling of being full rather than just hunkering down on the couch.
2. Swap out for healthier ingredients.
Healthy swaps are an easy way to cut down on calories and most will not even notice the difference. Sub fat free broths for the full fat variety, cut butter in half and swap Greek yogurt for sour cream. When it comes to desserts think about lightening the load with desserts that focus on more fruit and less sugar.
3. Don’t skip meals.
It might seem like a great idea to not eat breakfast and then gorge yourself at the Thanksgiving table, but you’re more likely to overindulge. Start the day with a healthy breakfast centered around protein and fruits and veggies and if you eat in the evening, follow the same plan for your lunch.
4. Eat slowly and savor your food.
If you rush through your meal you are more likely to eat more than you need to full. Slow down and enjoy the time at the table with your family. The slower you eat the more time you will give to allow your body to catch up with your brain. One thing we love to do it have each member at the table share what they are thankful for – this is a sure way to keep the conversation lively and not on subjects that can lead to awkward silence.
5. Cut back on your alcohol intake.
Calories in the liquid form count and are easy to get carried away with. Limit yourself to one or two drinks and be sure to drink plenty of water. Also steer clear of soda and other caloric beverages that pack a high calorie and sugar punch.
6. Control your portion size.
Rather than loading your plate with heaping portions of food, start with a small sampling of the food choices and then head back for a similar portion size of your favorites. We tend to head back for seconds of the foods we love even if we are no longer hungry, so by starting out small, we leave room for more of the things we love.
7. Finally, let go of your leftovers.
Rather than having leftovers day after day, try not to make too much food so you are not throwing out extras, nor are you having to eat mashed potatoes and gravy and pecan pie for a week.
Most of all remember that there is no gift as precious as your health, so be sure to be thankful for another year celebrating that gift.