Thanksgiving is finally upon us, and while it’s easy to blame our poor eating habits on the holiday, it’s not the smartest decision. However, fear not because “smart” eating doesn’t mean you have to eat any less, just make wiser choices at the table. Here are a few tips that will get you through this Thanksgiving guilt-free but still with a full belly:
Don’t go into Thanksgiving dinner STARVING – Many of us (I’ve been known to be guilty of this myself) have developed a habit of fasting the day of Thanksgiving so that when the time comes to eat, we can maximize our food intake (as gluttonous as this sounds, we’ve all been there). To avoid gorging at meal time, make sure to eat breakfast and snack throughout the day; the food will still taste just as good, I promise.
Eat slowly – Our bodies take about 15 minutes to realize we’re full – that’s a lot of time we can spend stuffing our face before our brain gets the message that we can’t fit anymore in our stomach. Eating slowly helps us realize when we’re full and when we should stop eating, preventing that “Oh-my-goodness-I-ate-so-much-I’m-going-to-pop” feeling.
Choose your turkey wisely – White meat turkey tends to be on the leaner side, so given the option always go for that. Also, try to avoid the skin of the turkey – it’s delicious, but also riddled with fat and cholesterol.
Watch your portions – Remember, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Start with small portions, you can always get seconds.
Stay hydrated – Drink water throughout the day and with dinner. Oftentimes we think we’re hungry when really we’re just dehydrated. Water will help fill up your tummy and keeps you hydrated as opposed to alcohol and/or coffee.
Use substitutions – Some “smart” eating tips can be applied even before you eat. Try substituting certain ingredients while cooking to save calories such as:
– Using 2 egg whites instead of 1 egg
– Substituting low-fat or non-fat varieties of sour cream, milk, whipped cream, cheese and cream of mushroom soup for the “regular” stuff. (Note: non-fat cheese doesn’t melt very well, so if this is case just stick with low-fat.)