Below is my latest blog post for Huffington Post. You can also read it here: 7 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving.
With Thanksgiving the start of the holiday season, temptations are all around us, and making healthy and smart food choices can be challenging. However, if you practice portion control along with following some other simple healthy tips, you can enjoy your favorite foods without gaining a pound.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day. And that is without breakfast or late-night eating. That number seemed high to Tara Parker Pope from the New York Times, so she conducted her own test. According to her analysis, the average Thanksgiving meal is closer to 2,500 calories.
Regardless of the exact number of calories we consume on the holiday, we probably eat much too much. But we do not have to overeat if we pay attention.
Here are seven tips that I have successfully used with clients for a healthy Thanksgiving.
1. Watch your portion sizes. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Enjoy your favorite holiday treat but take a small portion.
Here a few visuals from my book The Portion Teller Plan to help you eyeball a proper serving so that you don’t overdo it this holiday. If you can stick to these portions, you don’t need to worry about calories. You will not be overdoing it.
• A deck of cards’ worth of turkey is around 3 ounces.
• A golf ball size of gravy is about ¼ cup.
• A golf ball size of cranberry sauce is about ¼ cup.
• A ½ baseball worth of stuffing is around ½ cup.
• A ½ baseball worth of sweet potato is around ½ cup.
• A shot glass worth of salad dressing is around 2 tablespoons.
• It’s okay to enjoy an unlimited portion of nonstarchy vegetables.
• Drink lots of water, too!
2. Think maintenance. Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet.
3. Eat before you eat. Enjoy a healthy snack — yogurt, fruit, veggie soup, salad — before a party.
4. Be mindful and make only one trip to the buffet table. Look at all your options before making your final food choices; make sure all the calories you consume are worth it. Choose only the foods you really want and keep your portions moderate.
5. Eat slowly and chew your food well.
6. Exercise. Stick to your exercise routine. If your gym is closed, enjoy a brisk walk with family and friends.
7. Ladies, wear tight-fitting clothes. Men, be sure to keep your belt buckle snug. This will help prevent you from overeating.
Most of all, enjoy family and friends. Have a healthy holiday!