A Thanksgiving Survival Guide
~ by Heather Santo
Mmm! I can smell the turkey now! The turkey in the picture above was my bird from last year and wasn’t it a beauty? We separated the legs from the breast so the legs didn’t dry out and when they were done we could take them out and let the breast finish cooking, but enough about that!
Here are some scary facts: The average American Thanksgiving dinner clocks in anywhere from 3,000 – 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat! AAAAHHH! Eat the same amount in leftovers across the next few days and you have a recipe for weight gain disaster. These are some tips to try and help you to avoid tipping the scale:
DO eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning: The last thing that you want to do is starve yourself all day and then sit and gorge at the dinner table. When you experience a ‘Food Coma’, that means that your body is working into overdrive to try to digest all the food you just threw at it. Its like overfilling your garbage disposal and you can’t figure out why it gets jammed; same theory. Eat a healthy breakfast or whip up a Shakeology to get you through. If your dinner is really late in the day get some healthy food in your for lunch to keep your metabolism revving and keep your blood sugar levels in check. When its time for dinner you will have a healthy appetitie and won’t make yourself sick. Its win win!
DO get in some kind of physical activity: Is today a regularly scheduled day in your workout schedule? Keep it! You will be less likely to overeat and your body will be burning calories all day long so if you do eat a little extra your body is ready to start firing them up! Are you cooking? Get in a brisk walk or pick a shorter workout from your arsenal. Even extra trips up and down the stairs can get you all ready to go!
- DO enjoy yourself: The holidays is about having time with your family and friends. Don’t obsess, just be mindful. If you enjoy a piece of that famous decadent pecan pie eat one and savor every bite. Eat it nice and slow. Afterall, you have to have SOME kind of dessert for Thanksgiving!
- DON’T go crazy on the alcohol: Wine can clock anywhere from 90 – 150+ calories per 5 oz. glass. You can see how quick these can add up. Enjoy your alcohol at the main meal and keep around some diet friendly drinks and/or water the rest of the time. Your calories wallet will thank you.
- DON’T dive into the rolls: There is nothing quite like the smell of delicious homemade biscuits or bread, but if you are just sitting picking at them waiting for dinner to start not only are you packing on calories, but you are taking up all the room that you have been saving for the turkey. If you want one, take it WITH your dinner, but just like in restaurants, the last thing you want to do is make bread the appetizer while you mingle.
- DO follow the 20 minute rule: It take 20 minutes for your body to realize that you are full. If you scarf down all your food and start filling up your second plate, you have no idea that you are stuffed and believe me it will hit you all at once. If there is a favorite at the table, ask the host to make you a take home bag. The host is generally saddled with too much in the way of leftovers so most would be really happy to know that someone wants to take extra food home. If you can, be gracious and bring your own plastic containers or ask ahead of time.
- DO try some swaps if you are the cook or asked to bring a side dish: There are lots of ways to be in control of the fat and calories especially if you are the host and no one will notice the difference. In most recipes there is an excess of salt, sugar and butter. Check out some healthier swaps so you can still enjoy your favorites but they are figure friendly. The last 6 years, I have made nothing but swaps and usually can keep dinner around 500-700 calories. How cool is that?
Have any last minute recipes you need a swap for? Head on over to my Facebook page and let me know and I’ll dig out my arsenal to help you out or you can post below.