Gearing up for that big Thanksgiving feast, but looking for ways to avoid those dreaded holiday pounds? Joan Salge Blake, Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, explains how to trim down some of your favorite side dishes without sacrificing taste and tradition. Be sure to check out Joan’s blog for all the tasty recipes.
Tip #4: Trim the alcohol.
A glass of wine can be enjoyable with dinner, but let’s face it: Alcohol adds more calories to your Turkey Day feast. On top of that, spirits can weaken your willpower, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.
Save the first toast for when the turkey is served and sip four ounces instead of the usual five or six ounces. Use a smaller wine glass to help you stay on track.
Tip #3: Trim the amount of food you eat.
We stuff ourselves silly on Thanksgiving because we’re afraid we’ll have to wait another 12 months before we can indulge in the whole turkey thing again.
Try to remember that this is America. If you want a turkey with stuffing and apple pie a la mode in July, it’s yours for the asking. In fact, if we all got in the habit of repeating this meal a few times throughout the year, it probably wouldn’t have that “Last Supper” appeal to it.
Challenge yourself to eat at least 25 percent less this year, and the calories and fat won’t be so astronomical. Consider serving your Turkey Day on smaller plates. This is the easiest way to consume 25 percent less without much of an effort.
Check back tomorrow for Tip #4.
Tip # 2: Trim the amount of food you serve on Thanksgiving.
Take a head count. How many pilgrims and Indians are you really feeding? I bet it’s a lot less than the first Thanksgiving. I know you want leftovers because they’re the best part of the whole holiday, but do you really need a 20-pound bird for a party of six?
Make an executive decision to serve fewer dishes. It isn’t mandatory to have mashed and sweet potatoes, nor do you have to serve both whole cranberry sauce and the gelatinous kind that fans out like an ostrich’s tail. And what about those pies? How many varieties have to be served for it to be Thanksgiving? (Does anyone actually eat mincemeat pie?)
Better Bet: Serve only one dessert.
Check back tomorrow for Tip #3.
Between now and Thanksgiving, Registered Dietitian and healthy eating expert Joan Salge Blake will be offering tips to trim turkey day weight.
Tip # 1: Carve out an earlier time to eat.
When Thanksgiving dinner is served at 2 or 3 p.m., we tend to skip lunch in an attempt to make room for a few extra dinner calories. Has this ever really worked? Not in my house. By the time dinner finally rolls around, the smell of roasting turkey has permeated every pore of my skin, and I am transformed into an uncontrollable eating machine. To avoid this, have a light lunch to help you keep to more civilized portions. Or better yet, move up the start of dinner to high noon on the East Coast, that’s immediately after Santa brings up the rear of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Check back tomorrow for Tip #2.
“Eat breakfast: Don’t starve yourself during the day. Otherwise, you’ll be so ravenous come turkey time you’ll stuff yourself silly.
Move the mealtime: Eat at 1:00 instead of 4:00, Salge Blake recommends. Wait till it’s late and you may find yourself saying, ‘It’s a long time between breakfast and 4:00. I’m noshing!,’ she says. ‘The absolute worst that will happen,’ she says, ‘is that we may be hungry again at 6:00. So you pull it all out again then’ to eat when your stomach is really ready for more.
Allocate alcohol: Nothing kills willpower like too much to drink. If alcohol is part of your celebration, sip wine with your meal; don’t imbibe on an empty stomach.”