Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Hints

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. With parties, gifts of food, and holiday dinners, it’s especially hard to lose weight. Remember, the holidays are for enjoying good times with friends and loved ones. During the holidays, the key is avoiding weight gain!

Recognize your triggers. Holiday food IS tempting. Enjoy friendly conversation away from the dessert table. Engaged in good conversation, you will be less likely to excuse yourself and go across the room for dessert. And you don’t need to deny your sweet tooth entirely. Look for a lighter desert, or take just a small portion. A few bites taste just as good as half a pie.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we thought we’d offer (again) a few menu tips from our first Holiday Tips post several weeks ago.

  1. Portion size: ½ cup of mashed potatoes, about 111 calories—the size of a computer mouse; ½ cup cornbread stuffing about 175 calories; 3.5 oz. serving of roasted turkey breast (white meat without skin), about 115 calories—the size of a deck of cards; 3.5 oz. dark meat with skin, about 221 calories. Now think about the sides: gravy, rolls, butter, green bean casserole, pecan pie with whipped cream—and appetizers. The average Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner adds up to about 3,000 calories—without seconds.
  2. Quality vs. quantity: So let’s go back to the dinner described above. Pay attention to portion size, but also to healthy choices. White meat is leaner with less fat and fewer calories. Leave the skin on your plate. Substitute a homemade cranberry relish for canned cranberry sauce with high fructose corn syrup. Go lighter on the gravy. Try non-candied sweet potatoes and leave out the melted marshmallows. And keep in mind that pumpkin pie has just 1/3 the calories of pecan pie (and leave off the mountain of whipped cream—instead try a teaspoon spread across the top—same taste, fewer calories and fat).
  3. In addition to the dinner portion of the day, try to organize a big before or after dinner walk. It’s an opportunity to socialize away from the food, rev-up your metabolism and work some physical activity into your day.

Have a wonderful (and healthy) Thanksgiving!

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