Enjoy Thanksgiving without weight gain

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Most of us think of Thanksgiving as a huge meal where we enjoy our favorite foods. But you don’t have to feel guilty afterward. You can truly enjoy your holiday meal and hang on to your healthy habits.

 

Don’t “save your appetite”

Many people think that they should skip breakfast and lunch so they can be extra hungry for Thanksgiving dinner. This usually leads to extreme hunger and  overeating. In fact, you’ll probably eat much more than you would have done if you had eaten lunch!

 

Instead of skipping meals, focus on eating very healthy meals early in the day to avoid feeling too hungry. This helps you make smart choices and control portion sizes when you show up for dinner.

 

Enjoy every bite

Start with smaller portions, and eat slowly while smelling and tasting each bite. We often overeat when we gobble food down quickly. We don’t truly enjoy it and experience how delicious it is. You can get just as much satisfaction and enjoyment from eating smaller portions.

 

Small, slow and steady is key

The appearance of food makes a difference in how much we eat. If you use a big plate, you may be more tempted to fill it up and eat more. It helps to start with a smaller plate.

 

Put down your fork and wait a few minutes before getting second helpings. Give your stomach time to tell your brain that it’s full. You may find that you don’t need more food after all.

 

Focus on colorful fruits and vegetables

The fall harvest can be a great way to enjoy the season. Make your dish “to pass” a healthy plate of winter squash or baked apples (without added sugar). Or try roasted broccoli or cauliflower.

 

If you’re hosting the meal, make sure you have lots of vegetables and fruits on the menu. For example, appetizers can be cut-up veggies, rather than chips.

 

Don’t put healthy habits on “hold”

The holidays are busy, but a 15-minute walk will help lower stress levels and burn a few calories. Keep exercise and healthy habits in mind, even if you decide to indulge in a few treats.

 

Remember that one holiday slip-up doesn’t mean you have to give up your healthy eating or exercise plan! Get back on track tomorrow.

 

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Heart Association

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