Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Avoid Thanksgiving pitfalls and stay svelte with these healthy holiday tips
Because nobody wants a wattle.
Thanksgiving kicks off a season of plentiful food, parties, and stress. Staying healthy, both mentally and physically, can be a challenge. Avoid common pitfalls with these healthy strategies.
1. Start out the day with a nutritious breakfast, such as oatmeal or yogurt with fruit and granola. By filling up earlier in the day with healthy choices, you'll be less likely to overeat during the Thanksgiving feast.
2. Take a brisk walk around the block. A walk is a great way to catch up with family away from the dinner table or sneak in some alone time.
3. Go easy on the wine and cocktails. The average Thanksgiving meal can run anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 calories, says Meridan Zerner, a dietitian at Cooper Clinic. But with extra dessert and drinks, some people can inhale as many as 5,000 in a single sitting. Limit your liquid calorie intake by opting for water over juice or having just one glass of wine.
4. Make healthy appetizers. Munching on snacks like hummus, a fruit platter, vegetables and dip, or a handful of mixed (low-salt or no-salt) nuts will take the edge off before mealtime. If you begin the mealtime feeling starved, it will be harder to make smart choices about dishes and portion size.
5. Consider serving a seasonal soup, like low-fat butternut squash soup or a broth-based soup. A healthy starter will help fill you up a bit before you start chowing on side dishes.
6. Substitute ingredients for healthier ones, whenever possible. Modify grandma's cake or pumpkin bread by substituting applesauce for vegetable oil. Consider using skim milk, low sodium broth, egg whites, sugar substitutes, and olive oil.
7. Make a mix of dishes. Allow yourself a few splurges for the special occasion, but consider the balance. Along with mashed potatoes, for example, make vegetable side dishes – and not just the ones with marshmallows or fried onions on top. Consider sweet potatoes, green beans, or a corn dish.
8. Consider using a smaller plate. Shop for ones that are 10 inches rather than 12 inches or larger. Decorative holiday plates that are oversized may tempt you to scoop on bigger portions of mashed potatoes and stuffing.
9. Eat mindfully. Put down your fork, sip water, and talk to family or friends to slow yourself down. Savor each bite. If you scarf down a plateful without thought, you're likely to get second and third helpings. Give yourself a few minutes to digest before deciding to have another serving.
10. Limit the dessert spread. By choosing just a few favorites to serve, you will feel less compelled to try every single sweet on the table. And if you do, it won't be quite as dangerous.
11. Lace up for the Turkey Trot. The YMCA-sponsored race includes an 8 mile race, 5K or Trot Tot for kids. This year, race organizers are encouraging participants to dress up in turkey costumes! Learn more and sign up at thetrot.org.