1. Eat before your Thanksgiving meal. Many people skip breakfast or lunch to save room for a large Thanksgiving meal. If you are planning a mid-day Thanksgiving meal, make sure you eat breakfast. If you are planning a dinner time Thanksgiving meal, make sure you eat a light lunch. When we allow ourselves to get extremely hungry, we tend to overeat and overeat on the less healthy options.
2. After your Thanksgiving meal, avoid snacking throughout the day. Once your Thanksgiving meal is complete, put all the food away so you can resist the temptation to walk by and grab more to eat. Most likely you are not hungry, but the presence of delicious food makes mindless eating more likely.
3. Substitute healthier ingredients for unhealthy ones. Mashed potatoes can be made with chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic instead of butter. For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds or serve a fresh bowl of steamed green beans. Another easy way to cut fat out of your meal is to avoid eating the skin on the turkey and by eating the light meat instead of the dark meat. Whole wheat rolls can be offered instead of white rolls and you can choose the healthier pumpkin pie over pecan pie.
4. Stick to healthy portions and keep your food balanced. Fill up half your plate with healthier vegetables and fruit (green beans, salad, cranberries), and a quarter of your plate would be a starch such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a whole wheat roll and a quarter of it would be your protein (light meat turkey without the skin or ham). Decide prior to the meal that you will have one plate of food and resist the temptation to go back for a second or third plate. Once you have eaten your first plate of food, sit for a while to allow your brain to acknowledge you have had enough to eat.
5. Drink water and take a walk after eating. By drinking water throughout the day, you'll lower the risk of overeating. Plan on taking a walk after you eat to boost your metabolism and keep your energy elevated.