Thanksgiving is a holiday in which Americans gorge themselves with food. The following are ways to help you stay healthy during this holiday season.
Listen to yourself
With so many friends and family members around, it can be easy to allow opinions about what foods should be eaten and how much to creep in. Listen only to yourself during Thanksgiving dinner. If you feel moments of stress or loss of control, slow down and try to remind yourself about the true importance of this holiday—not food, but thankfulness.
Try for Lower Calories
It’s challenging to keep the pounds off during the holidays. The temptation to eat high-calorie food is everywhere. Here are some suggestions for cutting your calories:
- Enjoy your holiday comfort foods, but try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare meals differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, and include vegetables like fresh spinach and tomatoes.
- Fruits and Veggies: Most fruits and veggies are low-calorie and will fill you up, but the way you prepare them can change that. Breading and frying, and using high-fat creams or butter with vegetables and fruit will add extra calories. Try steaming vegetables and using spices and low-fat sauces for flavor. And enjoy the natural sweetness of raw fruit.
- Eat smaller food portions: When eating out, save some of your meal and take it home to make another meal or split one meal between two people. At home, try putting only the amount you want to eat in a small bowl and don’t go back for more. People eat more when served larger portion sizes.
- Drink water: Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This tip can help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar-sweetened soda will save you around 200 or more calories, depending on the drink you choose. Try adding a wedge of lime or lemon. This may improve the taste, and you just might drink more water than you usually do.
- Eat breakfast every day. When you don’t eat breakfast, you are likely to make up for the calories you saved by eating more later on in the day. Many people who maintain long-term weight loss eat breakfast daily.
- Continue to exercise: Regular physical activity helps with weight control, reduces the risk for many diseases, and strengthens muscles, bones and joints. Maintain your physical activity during the holidays — better yet, try to get more active!
How much weight does the average American put on over the holidays?
Despite our worst fears, the average American really only puts on one pound during the holiday season — which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year.
Be careful how much you eat this holiday season. Stay healthy and stay safe!