Enjoy Thanksgiving While Trying to Lose Weight

Tips and Tricks to Eating Holiday Meals Without Blowing the Diet

Don’t let all the treats, dinners and parties of the holiday season undo the healthy lifestyle changes made this year. Enjoy time with friends and make wise food choices. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Grocery stores are already setting up holiday baking displays. For some people, holidays are all about food, and lots of it. The average Thanksgiving meal consists of over 2000 calories. This year make some healthy changes to the holiday menu and avoid the Black Friday guilt.

Calorie Count for the Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Counting calories this time of year doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Enjoy all the traditional foods but in a modified way. Below is a traditional menu with all the trimmings. For most people, there’s a day’s worth in this one meal.

Roasted dark and white meat turkey with skin — 450 calories

Homemade stuffing with gravy – 600 calories

Cranberry relish -200 calories

Candied sweet potatoes – 400 calories

Green bean casserole – 190 calories

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream – 400 calories

Cup of eggnog – 400 calories

TOTAL: 2,640 calories

Calorie Count for an Alternative Low-Fat Thanksgiving Menu

This modified menu has retained most of the traditional fare. Enjoy the same tastes and smells of childhood. However, most of the added fat, sat and sugar has been removed. Also the calorie count is only half a day’s worth or less depending on an individual’s calorie requirements.

3 oz White turkey breast without skin – 190 calories

Turkey Sausage Stuffing with onion gravy – 220 calories

Roasted sweet potatoes – 110 calories

Braised collard greens – 120 calories

Apple Raspberry Crumble – 120 calories

Unsweetened ice tea – 0 calories

TOTAL: 760 calories

Other Alternatives to Consider Adding to the Menu

Creamy low-fat mashed cauliflower at 86 calories a serving is a healthy alternative to home-made mashed potatoes at 220 calories. If mashed potatoes are desired, consider using skim milk instead of cream or whole milk, and top with butter flavored sprinkles in place of butter, margarine or sour cream. For a healthier stuffing, consider substituting whole grain or whole wheat breads in place of the traditional white bread or corn bread in most recipes.

Tips and Tricks to Avoid Eating Too Much

It is recommended during weight loss that an individual break their daily calories into small frequent meals. Try to stick to normal eating routines even on the holidays. Even if the Thanksgiving meal is at lunch instead of dinner, keep the portions and calorie count within the normal range.

Don’t take seconds and stay away from breads, starches and sugars.

Drink ice water or unsweetened ice tea before and during the meal. The body must warm up the cold beverage to be used by the body. The warming process burns extra calories. Also, the added fluids will create a sense of fullness and ward off excessive hunger and the tendency to over eat.

Relax and Enjoy the Day

These are all just suggestions. It’s not so much about what is eaten but how much is eaten. Calories consumed must be less than calories burned in order for weight loss to occur. The problem with holiday eating is that there tends to be so many food choices, many of them are rich and high in calories. It’s really all about choices. Relax and enjoy the day but remember to follow basic weight loss rules. Take small portions. Choose foods that are low fat, low salt and low in sugar. Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Make it a special day without regret.

Copyright Amy Wingfield. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.