November 18, 2013
The holidays are a chance to give thanks – and eat! Most people overindulge on Thanksgiving. In fact, according to the American Council on Exercise, the average person eats a whopping 3,000 calories when they sit down to the table at Thanksgiving. In practical terms, you’d have to walk almost 13 hours at a moderate pace to burn off the effects of that meal! Since most of us don’t want to walk that long or far, it’s best to practice a little moderation. Fortunately, there are simple ways to cut back the number of calories you eat on Thanksgiving without making the meal less enjoyable.
Turkey is the typical focus on Thanksgiving Day, a meat that’s among the lowest in calories. White meat turkey has only 160 calories per serving, less than an equal amount of dark meat. Lighten up on the gravy. Gravy is usually a mixture of white flour and butter that will do no favors for your waistline. Try substituting horseradish sauce instead. It adds a tangy flavor that works well with turkey and has significantly fewer calories than gravy.
There are other high-calorie items to tempt you on Thanksgiving Day. Watch out for the casseroles and mashed potatoes loaded with sour cream and butter. Stick with the traditional veggie side dishes that grace most Thanksgiving tables – green beans and roasted vegetables. Roasted or lightly-sauteed veggies are the perfect, guilt-free way to fill up on Thanksgiving – and you can enjoy the fact you’re getting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
If you can’t resist potatoes, choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, a vitamin important for vision and a healthy immune system. Cranberry sauce is high in sugar but it’s rich in anti-cancer compounds called proanthocyanidins linked with urinary tract health. To reduce the sugar in cranberry sauce, make your own using a natural sweetener like Stevia.
When you sit down to the Thanksgiving meal, start with a broth-based soup or salad. These foods have a high water content and will help fill you up before digging into the main course. Skip the rolls or bread to limit your carbs so you can splurge on a little Thanksgiving dessert.
What are some of the most popular Thanksgiving desserts? Pie usually tops the list. Which pie is best from a health and calorie standpoint? Skip the fruit pie and the pecan pie and reach for pumpkin instead. With almost 500 calories a slice, pecan pie is the worst choice, while pumpkin pie has only 310 and half the fat. Want to save even more calories? Leave part or all of the crust behind. Pumpkin is a good choice for another reason. It’s loaded with beta-carotene. You can always skip dessert entirely and enjoy a cappuccino with low-fat milk instead.
After eating the Thanksgiving meal, don’t head for an easy chair. Take a brisk walk instead. Walking after a meal boosts insulin sensitivity to help keep your body out of fat-storage mode. Enjoy the Thanksgiving meal – but do it smartly.
Finally – if you are going to give your digestive system the task of processing a full-on Thanksgiving feast, consider a probiotic such as Digesta-Lac, to help support the digestive process, or Gastro-pH to provide relief from indigestion.
We hope you can use these tips to save on calories and still enjoy a special meal with friends and family!
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