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How can I eat healthy on Thanksgiving?

Eating healthy on Thanksgiving or any holiday is feasible if you follow a few main guidelines. Try to limit snacking while waiting around to eat. Pack your plate with the healthier foods -- white meat, vegetables and salad. Take small portions of the other foods like stuffing, potatoes, dessert and alcohol. During the daytime, make sure you get up to something active to make up for the few extra calories such as taking a walk, playing a game or doing another activity with family outside.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Eating healthy on Thanksgiving for many Americans may sound impossible, but it isn’t. You probably will eat more because of the holiday celebration but that doesn’t mean you have to gorge yourself. And with a little work you can probably find healthy options dispersed among the high fat/calorie Thanksgiving feast. Follow these tips to ensure your Thanksgiving dinner is a healthy one.

  • Take a small spoon of cranberry sauce, or any other sauce/gravy. Sauces are loaded with sugar, and fat. They can have up to 300 calories per half cup.
  • Don’t eat the turkey skin. While the skin adds great flavor and is a nice treat for special occasions, it does contain a lot of extra calories and fat.
  • Eat breakfast and lunch. Have meals earlier in the day. This will help prevent overeating.
  • Opt for veggies based sides. Instead of going for buttery, cheesy or creamy sides, go for steamed vegetables, salads, and smarter choices.
  • Avoid the pre-dinner feast. Appetizers, munchies and finger foods are notoriously high in calories and unhealthy fat. Moreover, they’re not filling. Save your calories for the main course.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water boosts your metabolism, helps digestion, and feeling full.
  • Fill your plate once. When you go back for seconds and thirds it is easy to lose track of how much you ate.
  • Socialize! Instead of eating, take time to talk with friends and family. It will slow down your eating, and by eating slower, you give your body time to digest and feel full – thereby lessen the likelihood of overeating.
  • Enjoy dessert. If you have room, just take a few bites of the dessert options. It will satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulging. And if you’re full, take your dessert to go rather than cramming it down.
  • Say no to guilt. Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and if you eat a lot – so be it. All of us occasionally indulge and it’s part of creating balance in your diet. Don’t feel guilty about it – as such guilt often manifests itself as additional overeating.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.