Ten Tips to Help Stay Trim for Turkey Time

November 23, 2009

Halloween candy leads to Thanksgiving stuffing and mashed potatoes, followed shortly by holiday and New Year treats. As the cold weather pushes in and the season wears on, you CAN make a conscious effort to not pack on the pounds as you pile on the extra layers. Follow the advice below for a healthier Thanksgiving Day:

1. Offer and/or choose healthy hors d’ourves. Try vegetables (celery, tomato, peppers, carrots, broccoli) with low-fat dips (hummus, low-fat dressings) and whole wheat bread and crackers with low-fat, low-sodium cheeses. These high-fiber and high-protein items make you feel fuller longer, which will help prevent overeating during the main meal. If your host will not be offering this, bring a dish yourself, or snack before you leave your house.

2. Instead of dark turkey meat, choose the white meat. It is a lean protein that is lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Skip the skin, which is very high in cholesterol.

3. Try your turkey topped with cranberry sauce instead of gravy. It has a great, sweet flavor and is lower in sodium, fat, and cholesterol than gravy. A small amount goes a long way.

4. Instead of cream and butter, mash potatoes with skim milk and cholesterol-free margarine or spread. For a lower-carb alternative, try making cauliflower mash with similar ingredients.

5. Try baked or mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. They are richer in minerals and vitamins, especially beta carotene, and have a lower glycemic load.

6. Have proper portion control, especially if you are eating family or buffet style. Put everything on your plate first so you are aware of what you are eating. Do not pick up food piece by piece. You will never know how much you ate.

7. Taste what you like-it’s ok in moderation. Try using small plates and small utensils to slow down your eating pace. You will enjoy your food and eat less of it.

8. Balance your plate: Make sure 1/2 of your plate is filled with a vegetable, 1/4 with a lean protein, and 1/4 with a starch, preferably one that is high in fiber/whole grains; try whole wheat stuffing, or a brown rice pilaf.

9. Fruit for dessert–you will be surprised how popular this will be, especially a fresh fruit salad. Or offer baked apples instead of apple pie as a more health-conscious treat.

10. Exercise! Start the day off with a great workout. It will invigorate and motivate you for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Also, remember to hydrate well with at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day, and a likely turkey feast.

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