With Thanksgiving comes lots of advice about how to lighten up your Thanksgiving plate. Although, there are things to do to keep us from getting out of control, we must give ourselves permission to enjoy the day and be realistic about it.

The first thing is, don’t start the day out thinking you are going to starve yourself with the idea of saving the calories until Thanksgiving dinner. This is essentially setting yourself up to overeat.

Second, give yourself permission to have dessert. Make a plan to decide ahead of time what your absolute favorite dessert is and plan to have a reasonable sized piece. You may also want to save a piece for another day. We need to get in the mindset that it does not have to be “all or nothing” and that we don’t have to eat it all in one sitting.

Thanksgiving is about traditions which may include many of our favorite foods. With the right approach and just a bit of planning, you can not only enjoy a piece of your favorite dessert, but you can also avoid that bloated, uncomfortable feeling of being overstuffed.

We invite you to consider trying these tips:

  1. First off, know what is available to eat before loading up you plate. This can help you decide ahead of time just exactly what it is that you want. That way, you will not put things on your plate and decide later on that you would have rather had something else. Hence, you end up piling more food on your plate and most likely, you just end up eating it.  
  2. Use a smaller plate. This will automatically keep your portions smaller, but it will give you the illusion of a fuller plate.
  3. Eat slower and give your stomach time to send signals to your brain that you are beginning to feel full before deciding to fill your plate with a second helping. Putting your fork down in between bites will help give your brain time to catch up with your stomach.
  4. If you are asked to bring something to a Thanksgiving gathering, bring something that you will enjoy which is also lighter in calories, such as a vegetable tray, fresh fruit or a salad.
  5. If you are in charge of the meal, opt for including a lower calorie salad dressing choice. You can provide gravy and sauce on the side for guests to choose from if they want the additional calories.
  6. Make your bites count when eating dessert and remember to slow down. When we slow down, our taste buds are able to enjoy the taste. We are also more likely to be satisfied after eating a smaller amount. Pause in between bites and savor the dessert!
  7. If you are hosting a Thanksgiving party, plan ahead and have disposable containers on hand so you can be sure to send leftover food home with guests rather than having them around to possibly tempt you later on.
  8. Plan activities that are not related to food. It is always fun to play board games or even outdoor games like football or soccer, weather permitting. Going for a walk either before or after Thanksgiving dinner is always a good idea, as it allows you to burn off a few extra calories. Additionally, you may wish to consider joining a community turkey trot or similar event on Thanksgiving Day to support a local charity.
Full Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner