A group called the Calorie Control Council did some delicious research and found that during an average holiday gathering, people eat about 4,500 calorie and 229 grams of fat. Yikes. Just to put that into perspective – my nutrition recommendations allow me 1,600 calories and about 48 grams of fat (2.8 times less calories and 4.8 times less fat than the average).
While this may be scrumptious, social and fun it certainly isn’t ideal for those of us trying to watch our waistlines and fight the obesity epidemic. So how do we avoid going overboard during our Thanksgiving festivities? Don’t worry – I’m here to help! Here are some tips for having a happy, yet healthy Thanksgiving.
Bring healthy appetizers, like the adorable veggie tray below. Ok, maybe the veggie tray is a little over the top for what you plan on making. My point is, you can bring healthy appetizers so you aren’t stuck with fatty cheese dips, potato skins or fried chicken wings.
Of course, you can find thousands of healthy appetizer recipes online, but here are some of my favorites.
- Guacamole – mash up an avocado and add some salsa. Just make sure not to have too many chips! Try it with slices of veggies instead (bell peppers are my favorite).
- Buffalo cauliflower bites. Man oh man, not only are they delicious (and addicting) but you don’t have to feel guilty after eating the entire batch… and making more and eating that too. 🙂
- Roasted shrimp is a delicious low-fat protein option.
Remember MyPlate – that little tool that the government gave us that physically shows you how to build a healthy plate. Wait. Does that say half of your plate should be fruits and veggies? Yup, sure does. But that doesn’t mean to have half a plate of mashed potatoes. Choose green beans, carrots, salad, cauliflower or whatever else your hosts are serving. If your Thanksgiving spread doesn’t usually consist of vegetables, make some! I know, I know. It sounds crazy. But you’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have healthy options available.I’d like to mention that orange part of the plate – grains. A quarter of your plate should be full of grains. That means don’t overdo it on the stuffing AND bread. Have one or the other – or small portions of both.
One way to tell if you’re following MyPlate is by the color of the food you’re eating. If everything on your plate is white (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread) you’re probably doing something wrong. Add some color and variety!
Try your hardest not to overindulge on the booze. I know, most of our families aren’t that fun unless you’re drunk (just kidding – kind of). Unfortunately alcohol quickly adds calories without you noticing (5 light beers adds about 500 calories, 2 glasses of wine are over 400 calories and 3 rum and cokes have 500 calories). Drinking also causes most people to eat more than they otherwise would have. Double whammy.
When all else fails, go on a walk after dinner. Crazy idea, I know. But if you don’t burn off those extra calories you ate, you’re going to need to wear bigger pants. So take a family member or two and get outside to enjoy the fresh air!