When you think of Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t family or a break from school – it’s FOOD. Obviously. And while it’s a great time to over-indulge in some of your favorite holiday treats, it’s also a great time to pack on some serious pounds. Between the actual meal, and all of the leftovers you will inevitably be snacking on (straight out of the fridge) for the rest of the weekend, you could be doing some serious damage to the hot bod you’ve been working so hard on all year. After all, the average Thanksgiving dinner can deliver up to a whopping 3,000 calories!
When you consider that one meal could contain enough calories to last you over two days, that’s kind of scary.
So here are some tips and tricks to indulging in Thanksgiving without gaining the Thanksgiving 30. But don’t go too crazy – after all, this is the one night of the year that totally revolves around food. You can and should definitely give in and treat yourself to your fave foods. Just make sure you’re not using a ladle to shovel it all in.
1. Opt for a lighter drink on Thanksgiving Eve. The biggest going-out night of the year almost always calls for some seriously heavy drinking. I don’t really know many people who AREN’T planning on getting completely wasted that night. Start your holiday off right by going for a lighter-calorie drink, like vodka/cranberry, vodka/tonic, or red wine. On a budget? Go for the light beer instead of that Corona.
2. Have a small and healthy meal before you go all out on dinner. It’s tempting to save all of your hunger pangs for the delicious meal awaiting you in the afternoon, but don’t. If you do, you’ll be so hungry you won’t even consider the calories you’re consuming. Have a light breakfast, like egg whites or toast with jelly. Munch on some healthy snacks while you wait, like almonds, fruit, veggies with dip, or hummus and crackers. These snacks will keep you relatively full so you won’t be starving once dinner comes.
3. Make some good choices during the Big Meal. If you’re eating turkey, go for the white meat instead of the dark meat. It can be a difference of over 100 calories. If you want to have a taste of everything, take small portions of each option. Eat slowly and focus on what you’re eating, because sometimes Thanksgiving dinner can feel like a huge rush. When it comes to dessert, choose the pumpkin pie over apple or pecan – it’s way less calories.
4. Don’t fall into a food coma – move your butt! Once the dinner is over, it can be tempting to lay down for the rest of the night and not move. Trust me, I know. But get out there and be a little active. Football is a huge Thanksgiving sport – start a game between you and your family. Not too athletic? Even taking a walk around the block is better than watching TV. Or, if you’d rather stay inside (and the turkey coma is setting in fast), play some Wii. It’s super fun and will get you moving. Whatever you do, try to be at least a little active.
5. Compensate for your indulgences over the weekend. Okay, so you ate a little too much. It’s OK! It was just one night! Hit the gym and do some cardio the next few days, maybe do a few minutes longer then your normal routine. And if you really feel guilty, just eat lighter for a couple of days. While you might have eaten too much, it’s not something you can’t fix later on!
And that’s definitely something we can all be thankful for.