Prepare for a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, so is the fear of the dreaded holiday weight gain. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering from snacking and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. By that estimate, we are eating roughly two and a quarter times more than the general recommended intake. The good news is there are a few tricks to help make this Thanksgiving a little healthier.
1. Start by filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. This includes green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, carrots and salad. Have smaller portions of starchy vegetables, such as corn, peas and winter squash. If you’re in charge of cooking, spice things up with a different take on green beans. Instead of the original green bean casserole, try roasting green beans with some lemon slices, a drizzle of olive oil and garlic.
2. Save a quarter of your plate for the star of the show, the bird. Stick to skinless turkey breast. The recommended serving size for protein is roughly the size of a deck of cards. Keep this in mind when building your plate.
3. The remaining quarter of your plate is for your favorite starchy sides. If there is a casserole or stuffing that you only have at holidays then take a small scoop. If it is a plain dinner roll or mashed potatoes, which you may have more often, then opt to skip those to save room for your favorites.
4. When it comes to desserts practice portion control. A typical 9-inch pie is meant to be cut into eight slices. If your pie is cut into 6 slices, your portions are probably too big. You may think having a sliver of each dessert is a great way to cut back, but you’ll probably end up eating more than if you savor one piece of your favorite.
5. Beware of hidden calories. Don’t forget, drinks count too. Many of us have oversized wine glasses or beer mugs that never seem to be empty on holidays. Keep track of your consumption by not refilling your glass until it is empty. Stick to the recommended serving sizes -- 5 ounces for wine, 12 ounces for beer and 1.5 ounces for 80-proof distilled spirits.
Bottom Line: Watching your diet during holidays shouldn’t leave you feeling deprived. Eat plenty of vegetables and special foods that aren’t available during the year. Avoid the everyday foods like mashed potatoes, rolls and cookies.
Written by: Laura Dutra, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern