Thanksgiving Prep for a Healthy Holiday

November 26, 2013


It’s that time of year when we gather with friends and family and eat with our eyes as much as our stomachs, as holiday favorites return to the table. Who can pass up dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy or those hot buttery rolls? And that’s not even including dessert. The Calorie Control Councilsays the average American dishes up as many as 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of turkey and pumpkin pie.

But wait, not all dishes are created equal

Though it is common to feel pretty full after a Thanksgiving feast, do you really think you are eating 4,500 calories? A recent Huffington Post articlebreaks down the caloric count for several plates and you may be surprised by the findings. Yes, a piece for pecan pie can bring in more than 500 calories, but a plate of turkey, vegetables, a starch, bread, and cranberry sauce is typically well under 4,500 calories.

Have a plan

We all know this is the holiday for giving thanks and enjoying great food. To enjoy that great food without the guilt, decide what your plan will be to feel your best throughout the holiday break. When it comes to the food, this is the time to choose those dishes you only get this time of year. You don’t have to skip on the dressing; just don’t go back for seconds. Take a look at your plate and think about portions. Are you trying to find space on your plate for one more item or does everything fit nicely? You only have so much space in your stomach, right?

Next, before calories go in, think about calories going out. What is your plan for exercise? Research shows exercise at least 12 hours prior to eating a big meal can help your body weather the storm better – the post-meal spike in triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that even light exercise like walking for 30 continuous minutes can reduce that spike in triglycerides.

Be Realistic

This is not the time of year to start a weight loss plan, if you would like the greatest chance for success. Nutritionists agree now is the time to be in the mindset of weight maintenance, not weight loss. Although we gain an average of only one pound during the holidays, the truth is we usually never lose that pound. Over the years, it adds up. Give yourself the permission to enjoy the holidays in moderation, as long as you agree to continue to stay active as well. Enjoy this time with family and friends and that piece of pie!


{photo: Pinterest}