Centsable Health: Eating Smart on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving can be a very healthful meal full of lean protein, vegetables and whole grains; however, the average American eats an extra 614 calories per day between Thanksgiving and New Years. That adds up to 7-8 pounds!


Why overeat at Thanksgiving?? You may…

  • Want to try everything
  • Be afraid of being rude
  • Give in to temptations
  • Have an all-or-nothing attitude
  • Use the “Holidays are only once a year” excuse
  • Feel pressure from family members


How can you overcome overeating?

  • Don’t go hungry. You may think that skipping breakfast before Thanksgiving dinner saves you calories, but it actually causes you to eat more. Eat a balanced breakfast with lean protein and fruit, and if you’re hungry before lunch, have a light snack.
  • Slow down. Your body will tell you when it has had enough, so try to listen to it.
  • Eat only at the table. Try not to graze before you sit down. If you want a snack, put it on a plate and sit down so you are conscious of everything you eat.
  • One-a-day treat rule. Let yourself indulge in one treat each day instead of lots of different treats every day. This way you won’t feel deprived and you will still get to savor all of your holiday favorites.
  • Avoid the “all or nothing” mentality. If you do overeat at one meal, don’t let it ruin your whole season. Make better choices at the very next meal.
  • Avoid liquid calories. We often forget about liquid calories in the grand scheme of things, but these can add up very quickly. Try to stick to calorie-free beverages during Thanksgiving, like water and ice tea.
  • If it’s not special, forget it. If you can eat it any other day of the year, don’t indulge during the holidays. Instead, choose things that are special to Thanksgiving that you know you won’t get for another year.


Meal Solutions

A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Turkey leg
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Cream corn
  • White dinner roll with butter
  • Soda
  • Pecan pie

= 1713 calories; 76 g fat; 7 g fiber


OR A healthier alternative

  • Turkey breast, no skin
  • Baked potato with butter
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Corn
  • Wheat roll
  • Ice tea
  • Jello with cool whip

= 634 calories; 16 g fat; 8 g fiberà cut calories by almost 2/3


These swaps cut calories by almost 2/3 and reduce fat by ¾! You can also combine the two meal solutions to indulge in some of your favorites while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the holidays.


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