thanksgiving dinnerEven if you’re a pretty healthy eater the rest of the year, you may ditch the discipline on Thanksgiving Day, proudly piling your plate high with turkey and all the trimmings and eating with absolute abandon. In fact, according to the Calorie Control Council, the average Thanksgiving dinner adds up to about 4,500 calories (that’s two and a half times what an average-sized woman should eat per day)!

Believe it or not, “Thanksgiving Day in moderation” does not have to be an oxymoron.

Below are some easy tips to keep your feasting (and your waistline) in check:

Size does matter.

Nutritionists suggest filling up half your plate with healthy vegetables, a quarter with turkey (skinless and primarily white meat) and then leaving the last quarter for those starchy and sugary sides in small portions (half a cup or less). When it comes time for dessert, slice your favorite pie in eight conservative slices to enjoy that sweet treat without completely overdoing it.

Can the canned cranberry sauce.

While cranberries are packed with antioxidants, canned cranberry sauce is also loaded with sugar. If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, push that grocery cart by the canned sauce and pick up some fresh cranberries, oranges and honey instead (check out this recipe). The homemade stuff not only is healthier but it will look a whole lot more appetizing than that wiggling, gelatinous log of sauce on your dinner table.

Gravy doesn’t have to be greasy.

Before you make your gravy, use a fat separator to remove the grease from your turkey pan juices or refrigerate the liquid to cause the fat to rise to the top so you can skim it right off. Your gravy will be lower in fat, but you can season it to make it just as tasty!

Streamline your options.

While variety is the spice of life, unfortunately, it can also lead to overeating. When you’ve had to choose between pumpkin and sweet potato pie, coconut cake, brownies and turkey-shaped sugar cookies, admit it—you probably took one of each! Make sure there are fewer options on the table, and you’ll have an easier time keeping your consumption under control.

Walk, don’t nap.

Still feeling stuffed after dinner? Instead of stretching out on the sofa, lace up your walking shoes, grab a few of your family members and take a brisk walk around the block (or three). While you probably won’t burn off your whole meal, you’ll probably feel a whole lot better (and less guilty when you indulge in that turkey sandwich at midnight)!


Share your healthy tips for Thanksgiving dinner.

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