From Amy Schwartz, Senior Director, Fitness and Wellness
A cup of common sense, a few calorie-cutting tactics, and a newfound emphasis on family rather than food can add up to a healthy Thanksgiving.
1. Chicken Broth. Use it to moisten stuffing, baste the turkey, and braise pearl onions. Make your own or choose low-sodium canned broth.
2. Trim the fat from recipes and side dishes. Make simple switches…
– Roast the turkey on a rack so that the fat will drain off.
– Buy French baguettes for stuffing. They are made without fat or sugar.
– Roast, don’t boil, sweet potatoes to bring out their natural sweetness.
– Replace mashed potatoes with low-calorie squash.
– Flavor food with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
3. Just Say No to Salt. Too much salt can cause your body to retain water and make you feel bloated. Reduce salt in your Thanksgiving recipes and use herbs to enhance natural flavors. Be sure to check sodium levels on all food labels.
4. Cut Calories on the Appetizers. Help guests get their recommended daily allowance of vegetables by offering a platter of veggies. For a great dip, just open a container of hummus.
5. It’s easy to say, but don’t overeat! Take these steps to ensure that you don’t stuff yourself:
– Eat breakfast. Starving yourself could backfire and start a binge.
– Be choosy. Pick only those foods you really crave.
– Take small samplings of a wide variety of dishes. Savor that bite and pass on seconds.
– Pace yourself at the table, and stop eating before you feel full.
– Make time for conversation. Put down the fork before you talk.
6. Slivers not Slices! Make yourself a sampler of your favorite desserts.
7. Burn Extra Calories. You can easily pack in a pound’s worth of calories – yes, 3,500 – at Thanksgiving dinner. Considering that 60 minutes of biking at 10 mph burns about 300 calories, it’s hard to undo so much overeating. Try adding another 30 minutes of daily activity during the holiday season. To avoid cramps, never exercise on a full stomach.
8. Focus on Family, Not Food. Celebrate Thanksgiving as it was intended, as a special time to spend with family and friends.
Follow these tips to indulge smartly on occasion. And if you do overdo it, develop a day-after plan before you go to sleep – have a light yet nourishing breakfast, a brisk workout, and a good outlook!