By Alicia J Kroat, RD, LDN,
Jennifer Fleming, MS, RD, Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD
is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends. While we feel the
excitement of the holiday season as it draws near, we also begin worrying about
it long before it arrives. Much of the added stress of the holiday season comes
from the fear of gaining weight from eating too many of the high fat and high
calorie foods that we typically limit throughout the year. Even though this happens only during the
holiday season – just once a year – we feel guilty. What if we told you that
you could eat all your holiday favorites guilt-free by following some simple
guidelines for the weeks leading up to and including Thanksgiving Day?
Before Thanksgiving Day:
Active – Holiday preparation can be time consuming but don’t
neglect yourself. Set aside time to engage in your favorite physical
activity. Prevent weight gain by lengthening your fitness routine in the weeks ahead and
especially the day of the feast. Remind yourself that your goal
is to maintain your weight, not to lose weight during the holiday season.
Preparation – Get your taste buds ahead of time by finding out what is
on the menu and decide what foods and beverages you will have for dinner before
you go through the buffet line or serve yourself at the Thanksgiving table. .
Your Own – Prepare a heart-healthy
dish to share with the group: low-fat, low-calorie, and/or low-carbohydrate.
On Thanksgiving Day:
Up Call – Start your day with a high protein breakfast -- such as
an egg (or egg white omelet) with a slice of whole-wheat toast -- so you won't
be starving when you arrive at the table on Thanksgiving Day. People often think
it is a good idea to forego breakfast and/or lunch to save extra calories for
the dinner meal, but by doing this you may end up eating more than you usually
would because you are hungrier than normal.
the Selection – Before loading up your plate, look
at all the options.
Distortion – Take smaller portions than usual of the items you like.
Taking smaller portions helps you increase variety on your plate. Look to fill
your plate with a variety of color.
Choose lower calorie (and nutrient dense) fruit and vegetable dishes
that will help you feel full and very satisfied. Fight off the urge for seconds and you’ll
have leftovers that you can eat for lunch the next day and maybe even the next
and Steady Wins the Race – eat slowly and put your fork down
between bites. Not only does this allow for time to engage in conversation, but
it allows your brain time to respond to your body’s hunger cues to tell you to
stop eating when you’re full. Sip water
between bites of food. This slows down
– Limit alcohol. Drink water or sparkling water to cleanse the pallet. If you
enjoy wine with your meal, reduce the alcohol and calorie intake by adding a
calorie free soda or using sparkling water to make a wine spritzer.
on Family – Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious buffet of
food. It's a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. Spend
quality time doing something other than eating, such as taking a walk or
playing card games.
Desserts – you can still have dessert, but be mindful of your
portion size. Also, choose just one
dessert carefully and savor it slowly!
all your favorites in moderation this holiday season with family and friends.
Strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss during this time of year. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Vegetable Recipe of the Month: Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Fruit Recipe of the Month: Chicken Waldorf Salad
photo courtesy oaklandaudiology.com