Enjoy Thanksgiving without gaining weight

With Thanksgiving soon here, are you feeling a bit anxious because you’re trying to watch your waistline and you’re afraid you’ll blow your diet? We’ve got some advice on how to navigate the traditional dinners wisely.

Eating wisely during the holidays
Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving simply wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the big turkey dinner and all the fixings, would it now? Yes, of course there’s the family bonding time and catching up with friends too, but so much of the holiday centres on that big meal. So what’s a girl to do if she’s trying to watch her figure?

Go for the dark meat if you prefer it

Many of us believe white meat is healthier for us, and in the case of turkey, this is true, but only minimally. The New York Times reports that white turkey meat contains only slightly less fat and fewer calories than dark meat. In fact, an ounce of boneless, skinless turkey breast has only one gram less of fat and 4 fewer calories than a dark-meat thigh. Since the difference is marginal, go ahead and have dark meat if that’s what you prefer. It actually wins out nutritionally in some ways because dark meat contains more iron, zinc and riboflavin, among other nutrients.

Watch your dressings

You may feel pretty virtuous about your skinless piece of turkey breast, but if you douse it in gravy, know that this high-calorie, high-fat sauce will undo the benefits of the lean protein option. Instead, try cranberry sauce (but be sure to use it sparingly, as it too can be high in calories, sodium and sugar). Another way to add flavour without ramping up the calories too much is with some mustard. Try using it plain, or whip up a low-fat dressing.

Try our low-cal cranberry sauce recipe >>

Pace yourself

Sure, you eat turkey only a couple of times a year, but resist the temptation to scarf down everything you can at the table. Eat slowly. It can take awhile for us to realize we feel full, so you might consume more food than you need to before your body signals that you are full. Plus, research in Japan shows that eating slowly may help suppress one’s appetite. Keep in mind, too, that there will be leftovers to enjoy, so you’ll have plenty more turkey meals in the next few days.

Skip the sugar! Try our sweet potato latkes recipes >>

Cook healthier options

If you’re the one who’s making the big Thanksgiving meal, take this opportunity to make lighter but just as delicious fare. Rather than sweet potatoes smothered in marshmallows, roast them with fresh herbs and olive oil for a delicious, savoury side dish. And instead of adding tons of butter and whole milk to mashed potatoes, give them flavour with fresh herbs, garlic and light dairy products.

Above all, enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. Remember, you won’t put on weight if you happen to overindulge at one Thanksgiving dinner, but don’t use that as an excuse to plan on overeating!

More on healthy meals

Tasty Thanksgiving recipes for a stress-free meal
Creative ways to add veggies to your diet
Losing weight, “diet”-free

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