Healthy Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving Day can be a nightmare for those trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. With everything from mashed potatoes to macaroni and cheese to pumpkin pie all around, the average American consumes over 2,000 calories in this single meal.

But, it is possible to enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast without the guilt. Try these tips:

1. Whether your Thanksgiving meal is at noon or at night, always eat a healthy meal in the morning to avoid overeating later in the day. Try a bowl of oatmeal with raisins or an egg white omelet with veggies. Arriving at your Thanksgiving meal with an empty stomach will only lead to overeating and guilt.
2. Workout before going to Thanksgiving dinner or if Thanksgiving is at your house, put the turkey in the oven and then jump on the treadmill or put on a workout DVD. Exercise will improve your mood and help you make better eating choices later in the day. Also, if the weather permits, take a family walk AFTER dinner as well.
3. If Thanksgiving is at your home, try for healthier menu options such as removing the skin from your turkey, substitute regular butter and cheese for the low-fat versions, use egg whites instead of whole eggs or try low-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Also, remember to offer several healthier side dishes such as steamed veggies or a green salad.
4. If Thanksgiving dinner is not at your home, offer to bring a side that you know will go well with your diet. That way you will know that there will be at least one item on the menu that you can eat. Offer to bring a veggie tray, steamed carrots or a big green salad.
5. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your stomach full. Avoid caffeine and alcohol that can dehydrate you and cause you to overeat.
6. Remember portion sizes. A serving of turkey should be no larger than the palm of your hand. Opt for a small spoonful of high-calorie foods such as candied yams or cranberry sauce and pile your plate high with foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. When it comes to dessert, only enjoy one small helping of your favorite or opt for fresh fruit instead.

Remember, food does not need to be the main focus of your Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is about enjoying friends and family and being thankful for all the many blessings throughout the year.

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