Print this out. Post it on your fridge.

November 21, 2010

It’s Thanksgiving week!!!  Set yourself up for success by planning ahead!

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 calories, depending on what you put on your plate!  With a main dish of lean poultry and a traditional dessert made from squash, you wouldn’t think “The Big Meal” would be so difficult.  I know how hard it is to resist overeating and overindulging (believe me), so I’ve come up with a list of tips to help you navigate the big day.

If you’re going to someone’s home for dinner:

  • Do not starve all day so you can overindulge that evening.  In fact, never go anywhere hungry.  Drink a tall glass of water and eat an apple with almonds, raw veggies with hummus or 1/2 protein bar before you go out.  Research has shown that eating one big meal is the WORST possible way to diet.
  • Opt for sparkling water with a lime wedge instead of that gin & tonic.  You’re going to be eating enough, so keep your drinking to a minimum to avoid excess calories.
  • Don’t be part of the clean plate club.  Leave a bite on your plate to show your restraint.  If you must try something, keep it to just a taste.

If you’re hosting, you can trim some fat and calories from the feast without feeling like you’re going without. Here are some ideas:

  • As you prepare the meal, chew on minty gum or brush your teeth.  You’re less likely to nibble along the way.
  • Serve fresh vegetables and cut fruit as appetizers. If you fill up on them, you’ll be less likely to gorge yourself on higher-fat, higher-calorie foods at the table.
  • Baste the bird with de-fatted chicken or turkey stock. You can buy fat-free broth, or put regular canned broth in the refrigerator and scoop out the “clumped up” fat before using the broth. You can make your gravy with fat-free broth and milk, too, or just buy fat-free gravy off the store shelf and use it (that is, if store-bought gravy is permissible at your Thanksgiving table).
  • Use nonfat milk and skip the butter as you mash potatoes–add chives and garlic for flavor.  YUM!!!
  • Prepare sweet potatoes with no marshmallow, cream or butter – use brown sugar or maple syrup sparingly. Or, try a brand-new recipe:  bake your sweet potatoes in a casserole dish with some diced apples and raisins with a little olive oil.
  • Make your own cranberry relish or “salsa” instead of serving the high-sugar variety. Check out this recipe!
  • At the table, enjoy the turkey without the turkey skin…where almost half the fat resides.
  • Reduce calories in pumpkin pie by using non-fat evaporated milk instead of cream and 3 egg whites instead of 2 whole eggs in your recipe.  Add a little fiber with a whole-wheat crust.
  • Give away your leftovers.  Just do it.

Plan an activity after eating such as ice-skating, a stroll along your favorite avenue, or a touch football game!  Beats watching TV…

…Or simply get to the gym every day that you can this week.  I’m here for you if you need any ideas with planning your workouts.  Even if you don’t have access to the gym, you can still work out!

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