10 Healthy Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

In terms of food, Thanksgiving is known as the big feasting holiday. But over the years as portion sizes have exploded along with unhealthy recipe variations (think Candied Yams with marshmellows), a plate of Thanksgiving dinner can easily tally 3,000 calories – well over the recommended daily caloric allowance for most of us. In order to enjoy your meal without feeling terrible afterwards, we’ve

eating thanksgiving
Image credit: Flickr/jonbolden

gathered ten healthy eating tips for Thanksgiving. Jade, one of Precision’s nutrition coaches, says, “The key to healthy eating at Thanksgiving is to apply tricks to not overeat without feeling deprived. There is so much tasty food on that day (and the next) that you want to be able to enjoy them without feeling guilty—and without falling too far off your current eating plan.” Here are ten healthy eating tips for Thanksgiving dinner:

  1. Workout early that day – Try to sneak in a workout on the day of the dinner to both burn off and make room for the extra calories that night.
  2. Eat normally throughout the day – Don’t skip meals to conserve calories. Eating normally will make sure you aren’t starving by dinnertime and will help avoid gorging.
  3. Drink lots of water – Be well hydrated before dinner and you’ll find that you won’t eat as much at the big meal.
  4. Eat slowly – Chew your food thoroughly during dinner. Put your fork down and socialize—enjoy your meal with others. This will ensure you don’t overeat, get bloated and feel gross afterwards.
  5. Minimize starchy and bread-type dishes – Keep these portions small, and focus on the protein and veggie dishes.
  6. Go skinless – Avoid the skin of the turkey to slash some of the fat and cholesterol. Otherwise, turkey is an excellent form of protein and has less fat than most other meats.
  7. Make a conscious decision to limit certain foods – Be wary of the high-fat and high-sugar dishes, i.e. candied yams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable cheese ‘casseroles’ and pumpkin pie. If you’re the chef, experiment with some healthier ingredient substitutions such as milk for cream, or replace traditional recipes with healthier versions.
  8. Break between helpings – Wait 10-15 minutes before having a second helping to give your body a chance to register how much you’ve already eaten. You might find you don’t need that extra plate and can keep some room for dessert instead.
  9. Walk after dinner – Going for a walk after dinner gets blood flowing and increases digestion. A cup of peppermint tea is another soothing way to aid digestion.
  10. Practise portion control – Don’t feel like you have to fill your plate because it’s Thanksgiving. Remind yourself what a ‘normal’ serving size should be. Here’s a handy size reference guide:
    • 3 oz. protein/meat = the size of deck of cards
    • baked potato/yam  = computer mouse
    • mashed potato = lightbulb
    • 1 cup veggies = baseball
    • dinner roll = hockey puck
    • 1 TBS butter = poker chip

Happy Thanksgiving eating, everyone.  

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