Thanksgiving is almost here, which means football, family, food, food, and more food. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American may eat more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat! These figures don’t count breakfast or late-night snacking on leftovers, so many people probably eat well over 5,000 or 6,000 calories. No wonder many people’s waistlines expand on this holiday!
The average person needs only 2,000 calories a day to maintain their current weight. Here is a breakdown of the calories in some favorite Thanksgiving foods:
• 6oz turkey – 340 cals
• ½ cup stuffing – 180 cals
• ½ cranberry sauce – 190 cals
• ½ cup mashed potatoes – 150 cals
• ½ cup gravy – 150 cals
• ½ cup green bean casserole – 225 cals
• ½ cup candied sweet potatoes – 150 cals
• Glass of wine – 120 cals
• Cup of eggnog – 340 cals
• 1 slice pumpkin pie – 180 cals
• ½ cup whipped cream – 75 cals
• ½ cup ice cream – 145 cals
• 1 slice apple pie – 410 cals
• 1 slice pecan pie – 480 cals
You can see how quickly these calories can add up. Rather than expanding your waistline this Turkey Day, let’s keep it slim instead. Follow these easy 10 tips:
1) Keep up with your exercise routine – Just because it is a holiday doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to stop exercising. Staying consistent will prevent expanding your waistline! Do your usual workout so when you are watching football and nibbling on snacks, you’ll feel good knowing you already burned extra calories for the day. Better yet, put the turkey in the oven, then go on a nice walk in the morning with the family! What a great way to start the holiday.
2) Serve healthy snacks while watching football – Instead of heating up processed, frozen snacks which are high in sodium, provide no nutritional value and are loaded with unhealthy fats, serve a raw vegetable platter with healthy dips or hummus instead. For a fun, lightly salted and crispy snack, bake kale chips! They actually taste like potato chips. (Krispy Kale recipe below)
3) Drink lots of water – Thanksgiving dinner is typically high in sodium, so drink 8 glasses of water (or more) to reduce the excess water weight and bloat.
4) Watch the alcohol – Excess alcohol adds empty calories and lowers inhibitions. Save those calories for your favorite slice of pumpkin pie instead.
5) Skip the eggnog – Eggnog is extremely high in calories – 1 cup could have 360 calories and 60g of sugar! Best to avoid this holiday drink altogether.
6) Pay attention to portions – Even your grandma’s pumpkin pie looks amazing and you could eat about 3 slices, you’ll regret it the next morning. Instead, enjoy a sensible portion or just take a few bites of your favorite foods. This way you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything, but your waistline and stomach will thank you.
7) Cook more of the “good” foods and less of the “bad” foods – Leftovers are inevitable, so why not have more healthy leftovers than the unhealthy ones? Cook more of the foods that are good for you, so the next day you have healthy choices without all the temptation.
8) Eat your Thanksgiving meal early so it has time to digest – Try to eat in the afternoon so that the heavy meal will digest long before bed time.
9) Freeze excess leftovers – To avoid feeling the need to eat all the leftovers in a few days before they go bad, freeze some of them. Plus, you’ll have more room in the fridge.
10) Enjoy time with your friends and family – The purpose of the holiday is to relax, have fun, and spend time with those you care about. The food is important, but not nearly as important as being thankful this holiday.
Justine SanFilippo is a Certified Health Coach, Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer and Author. Check out her book Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind! Available on her website www.happyhealthypeople.com and on Amazon.