How To NOT Overdo It at Thanksgiving

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, Thanksgiving, November 24, 2009

Tips for Not Overdoing It
From October to December, it seems like we go into eating overdrive. The secret to a guilt-free Thanksgiving meal is finding balance without feeling deprived. Use these tips to help you throughout the holidays, no matter where you’re celebrating.

    IN THE KITCHEN
    When cooking for yourself and friends or family, you have the control.
  • Balance the menu: Make some light and healthy veggie dishes along with those high-calorie classics.

  • Limit the choices: Resist the urge to make 100 different things — decide on a few and save some recipes for another holiday.
  • Save room: Make smaller portions of your favorite recipes so everyone can have a bit of a taste.
    AT THE DINNER TABLE
    Whether you’re a dinner guest or sitting down to your own meal, it’s not a race to see who can eat the most.
  • Downsize: Use smaller serving utensils and plates to help keep portions under control.

  • Avoid getting stuffed: You don’t have to taste (or finish) EVERYTHING – that’s the beauty of having leftovers for the next day.
  • Watch the alcohol: Cocktails have calories too!
    AT A RESTAURANT
    Just because you don’t know how much butter went into those potatoes doesn’t mean you can’t keep tabs on what you eat.
  • Beware the buffet: Most people tend to take “all you can eat” too seriously — keep portions small and sensible.

  • Order smart: When dining family-style, be the one to order some lighter dishes for the table to share.
  • Doggie bags: Just because you’re dining out doesn’t mean you can’t take leftovers home.

TELL US: What are your strategies for not overindulging?

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Comments (19)

  1. My best strategy is just to remember there will be PLENTY of leftovers and I'm going to see this food for the next few days so why bother eating it all at once?

  2. Teresa says:

    A good strategy is to remember to eat 4-5 small meals a day. Remember to eat a healthy breakfast as well. This way you won't be totally starving. Also drink lots of water and get some exercise.

  3. julo says:

    My go-to strategy for not overeating is to go for the veggies first. I fill half my plate with salad and whatever gently sauted or steamed veggie is served (usually asparagus in my family). Then I go for the lean protein, in this case turkey. I take 3-4 oz of turkey, which usually fills a quarter of my plate. That leaves a quarter of the plate left for mashed potatoes, spinach casserole, cranberry sauce, and any rolls. Since there's not a lot of plate room left, I can only take small helpings of each to make sure I taste everything. And I don't have seconds! An entire plate of food plus dessert is plenty of food for a meal, so I make sure I get everything I want the first time and don't plan on coming back. It's worked like a dream for me!

  4. Go slowly. Take time to savor the food and share a few words with those around you in between. Thanksgiving dinner makes great leftovers, so I always have to remind myself that I don't need to eat the whole table just because it looks/smells so amazing!

  5. Helen says:

    The best tip I've learnt is from a friend who puts down her fork between mouthfuls, and not pick it up again until you have completely finished your mouthful, and said a few words to the company. By the time I felt full I was shocked to see how much food was still left on my plate when I followed her example!

  6. Kmo0218 says:

    As a Weight Watcher, my goal for any holiday meal is to make sure I can get up from the table and comfortably go for a walk. The trick is to eat a healthy breakfast or at least a healthy snack before dinner is ready (fruit, raw veggies, etc). Even though the Thanksgiving celebration centers around the food, only eat what is special…the foods that you get once a year. If the menu item is something that you prepare throughout the year, it's not really special, is it? The strategy that julo describes is the perfect way to stay in control.

  7. Margaret says:

    eat smart from the table (most colorful veggies first, some turkey, cranberry relish) and reward yourself with dessert!

  8. Jools says:

    It's all about getting stuffed, wth are you people talking about!! You can watch your weight all year, but come on, enjoy thanksgiving!!

  9. traci says:

    I hate thanksgiving and I like eat like ham, potato not sweet one, cranberry and bread for me for thanksgiving. I love Christmas food. :)

  10. Martin says:

    Agree with Jools…

    People are so worried about what they eat between Thanksgiving and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Thanksgiving.

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