With Thanksgiving coming up, chances are food is on your mind. Not just any food either, food that’s high in calories, fat and, let’s face it – deliciousness. From stuffed turkey drenched in brown gravy to sweet potato casserole topped with roasted marshmallows the Thanksgiving dinner table is the best and easiest place in the world to overindulge yourself. If you’re watching your calorie intake or your waistline, Thanksgiving can be a dangerous time. However, with the right planning and willpower, you can manage to make Thanksgiving a healthy (or at least healthier) experience.
Before You Eat…
For one, you need to exercise some moderation. It can be tempting to scoop mountains of mashed potatoes and stuffing onto your plate, but that can be a real problem. If you serve yourself some small portions not only can you manage your calorie intake, but you get to try everything on the table!
Also keep in mind that Thanksgiving is supposed to be about indulgence. It’s okay to eat a little more than your fill during the holidays, but make sure you balance it out. On Thanksgiving for example, have some good, light meals for breakfast and lunch and try to get in some light exercise. That way you’ll feel healthier, and hungrier when the big meal rolls around.
When it does though, there are some simple ways to keep yourself from overeating. Try taking a sip of water between bites to stop from simply stuffing food in your mouth continuously. Also, wait at least 20 minutes before going in for round two. Chances are, your body doesn’t know it’s full until then. After 20 minutes you might find that you don’t have room.
If you’re the one doing the cooking, then it’s that much easier to control how healthy the meal is. Using low-fat meats and dairy products is a simple way to lower the overall calorie load of your meal. If you use them in stuffing, pies and desserts for example, your guests won’t even notice the difference.
Burning Thanksgiving Calories
Even with the strongest of resolves, chances are you’ll still need to do some activity to break even calorie wise. Consider even doing some exercise on Thanksgiving. If you jog for just 60 minutes you’ll burn about 500 calories. That’s a slice of pecan pie! If you do an hour of Zumba, you can manage to have an extra piece of that sweet potato casserole.
There are even some activities you can do throughout the day that don’t require putting on your running shoes. Clearing and washing the dishes can burn about 100 calories, and helping clean up the kitchen can burn another 100. Pretty good if you had a little too much green bean casserole.
If there’s kids at your party consider this: An hour of carrying or playing around with small children can burn up to 200 calories. Shopping for 30 minutes can burn up to 80 calories. That’s enough for your mashed potatoes or dinner rolls.