Eat Right Here
Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving sides

Choose sides like Brussels sprouts for a healthier Thanksgiving.

If 3000 sounds like a lot of calories for one meal, that’s because it is.  Yet many holiday meals bust straight on through to the other side of a whole day’s calories in one sitting. The bad news: holiday weight gain lasts all year.  That’s right. All. Year. And year after year, this can really add up.

Now for the good news: you can still enjoy your holiday traditions without letting your waistline be a casualty. Read on for some practical tips, and a few less than practical (but highly effective) ones. Make this the year that you’re not just another statistic!

First, let’s take a closer look at exactly what we’re talking about here.

A Typical Thanksgiving  

A More Moderate Approach to Indulging A Thanksgiving Plate That Won’t Slow You Down
Pre-feasting snacks 

- Half a cup of mixed nuts 

- One ounce of potato or tortilla chips with one teaspoon of chip dip

- Half a cup of mixed, raw veggies 

- Half a cup of fresh fruit

 

- Half a cup of mixed, raw veggies 

 

The main event 

 

- Half a cup of waldorf salad 

- Six ounces of white and dark turkey

- Half a cup of stuffing (let’s face it – many of us take more than ½ a cup!)

- Half a cup of cranberry sauce

- Half a cup of mashed potatoes

- Half a cup of gravy

- Half a cup of green bean casserole

- Half a cup of candied sweet potatoes

- A dinner roll with a pat of butter

- A slice of pecan pie with half a cup of ice cream

- Three cups salad with light dressing 

- 3  ounces of white and dark turkey

- Half a cup of stuffing

- A quarter cup of cranberry relish

- Half a cup of mashed potatoes

- A quarter cup of gravy

- Half a cup of sauteed green beans

- A quarter cup of candied sweet potatoes

- Half a slice of pumpkin pie

 

- Three cups salad with light dressing 

- 3  ounces of white and dark turkey

- A quarter cup of cranberry relish

- Half a cup of sauteed green beans

- Half a cup of baked sweet potatoes

- Half a slice of pumpkin pie

 

Beverages 

 

- One mixed drink 

- A cup of eggnog

- One glass of wine 

 

- Unsweetened iced tea 

 

Your BILL 

 

That’ll be 3500 calories. 

You will need to walk 35 miles (more than 70,000 steps) to put things back into balance.

 

That’ll be 1200 calories. 

You will need to walk 12 miles, (more than 23,500 steps) to put things back in balance.

That’ll be 600 calories. 

You will need to walk 6 miles (about 12,000 steps) to put things back in balance.

Tips & Tricks for Healthier Holiday Eating

If you’re a guest:

  • Stick to the rule of 3 and only have 3 things on your plate at once.
  • Take your time and enjoy your meal.
  • Fill at least half your plate with non-starchy veggies first – I’m thinking Brussels sprouts, salad, or sautéed winter greens.
  • Then fill a little more than half the plate with whole grains, or a healthy starchy vegetable such as a baked potato or baked sweet potato (maybe there’s a wild rice stuffing around?)
  • Then add some lean meat from the turkey (or even go for seafood. It may not be the first thing people think of on a holiday also known as “turkey day”, but it’s not unheard of). The serving should be about the size of a small woman’s fist.

If you’re the host:

  • Smart holiday cooking substitutions can mean fewer calories without sacrificing taste. As much as you are comfortable, use a lighter hand when adding oils, cream, sugar, or nuts. Instead, amp up flavor with a variety of fall vegetables, fresh seasonal herbs, cranberries, and citrus.
  • Use smaller plates – it will subconsciously help your guests eat with more moderation compared to a large plate
  • Serve salad first, and use a lighter dressing
  • Use large forks – recent consumer research shows that the use of large forks was related to fewer calories. Go figure.

Not as fun, but these tips work

  • Don’t drink your calories. No wine. No mulled cider. No cocktails.
  • Stay away from anything creamy, be it soup, mashed potato, or dessert
  • Eat a big breakfast and only sample a little of your favorites on the table
  • Eat your meal on the treadmill. Just kidding.

Happy Eating!

For more of my food tips (all with great savings!), check out my Healthy Living for Less section. Plus, follow @freshdirect on Twitter for healthy eating tips throughout November.

What are your favorite healthy Thanksgiving meal tips? Let us know on the FreshDirect Facebook page (where you can also enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card from us!) or via Twitter (@FreshDirect).

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