15 Ways Not to Gain Weight This Thanksgiving

The average American consumes between 3,000 to 5,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner. You’d have to walk an extra 5 miles per day or bike for 6 hours to burn off just this one meal.

It’s almost impossible to lose weight during the holidays, especially one entirely centered on food like Thanksgiving. Between the buttery mashed potatoes, turkey smothered with gravy, and creamy pumpkin pie; there are way too many temptations that can destroy your waistline.

But with a few simple changes, it is possible to enjoy this feast without gaining any extra pounds. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some of your favorite Thanksgiving staples. You just have to develop a plan of attack to enjoy your holiday meal without going overboard.

Try some of these out healthy tips to enjoy Thanksgiving Day and the rest of the holiday season without the guilt. You’ll thank us when January 1st comes around!

1. Go easy on the calories the week before. We don’t want you to starve yourself the entire week, but watching what you eat and adding an extra 5-10 minutes to your normal workouts will allow you to indulge (but not too much) on Thanksgiving.

2. Don’t arrive on an empty stomach. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can help control your appetite throughout the day. We recommend a meal that’s full of fiber that will keep you fuller longer like oatmeal with berries.

3. Choose healthy appetizers.  Save your calories for the main course and munch on fresh fruit and veggies instead of high fat appetizers. That way you will fill up on healthy foods before you even sit down at dinner.

4. Decide between booze and sugar.  Don’t forget that calories from desserts and alcohol can add up quickly. This may feel like we’re forcing you to pick your favorite child but if you are really trying to watch your weight; you may have to sacrifice one of them.

5. Stay hydrated.  Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can actually help you eat less, boost your metabolism, and stop bloating. Not to mention ease your hangover the next morning if you had one too many drinks.

6. Keep yourself busy. If you spend the entire day sitting around on the table or on the couch watching football, the temptation to eat and drink is way too easy. Helping the host prepare dinner, throwing the football in the backyard, or catching up with friends and family will take your mind off food.

7. Try new dishes. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing some dishes to share, try a new (healthy) recipe. Our favorite is faux mashed potatoes. Just boil cauliflower, mash it, and then add some skim milk, lemon, and garlic!

8. Incorporate healthy substitutes.  Savor the flavor but lose the calories with these alternatives: sweet potato instead of white potatoes, oil instead of butter, honey instead of sugar, and Greek yogurt instead of cream.

9. If it’s boxed or can, say NO.  Instead of opting for the boxed stuffing or canned cranberry, take some extra time to make the homemade versions. You can cut a ton of hidden fat and sugar from your meal.

10. Stick to the plate method.  Once you’ve surveyed the buffet, fill up half of your plate with the dishes you want and then fill the other half with veggies and salad. That way you can still enjoy your holiday favorites without messing with your diet.

11. Skip seconds. If you don’t like the plate method, keep it simple and try to resist the urge to go back for a second helping. One plate should be plenty to keep your stomach happy and stop you from eating an excessive amount of calories.

12. Avoid certain dishes. There is no easy way to say this but some dishes you might have to avoid completely. Candied yams, gravy, and pecan pie are the items that contain the most sugar and calories on the Thanksgiving table.

13. Savor every bite.  It takes about 20 minutes for the body to no longer feel hungry so make sure to eat slowly. Taking breaks in-between bites give your stomach time to signal to your brain that you’re full. Plus you only get one Thanksgiving meal of the year so you might as well enjoy it.

14. Stop the fight.  If you’re looking for a way to stick to one helping, reach for a “meal ender” after you clear your plate. Chewing a piece of gum or applying your lip-gloss can stop you from continuing after the first serving.

15. Take a walk after dinner. Ask your family and friends if they want to go for a walk after everyone finishes eating. Studies have found that walking about 15 minutes after a meal can improve digestion, regulate your blood sugar, and burn some of those extra calories you just consumed.

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