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10 Healthy Tips to Cut Thanksgiving Calories

10 Healthy Tips to Cut Thanksgiving Calories

Thanksgiving Day has held a tradition of overeating since the first time the settlers gathered to celebrate a remarkable harvest. Each year, large groups of people gather around an enormous table laden with the most delectable dishes imaginable. Multiple cooks work for days to prepare old favorites in new ways. Most of these foods are not served at any other time of the year.

A long afternoon of enjoyable conversation and multiple plates full of food are dismissed as part of the fun. At some point in life, each person will begin to wonder if one day of unrestrained consumption is good for the health. Some studies have shown that adults will gain 5-7 pounds during the holiday season that starts on Thanksgiving and ends in January.

Here are some suggestions for people who will consume the feast after all the hard work is invested in the kitchen.

10. Reduce the portion sizes

Decide to eat a small portion of many different dishes instead of filling the plate with three or four items. A smaller amount of food on the plate will allow the diner to eat more slowly and enjoy more conversation. The stomach will notice the amount of food being consumed and have a fuller feeling. Samples from each dish should be placed further apart to provide a visual feeling of a full plate without piling one type of food on top of other foods. Avoid taking second portions of the same dishes.

9. Choose lean meat

Turkey is the leanest traditional Thanksgiving meat on the table. Research has proven that breast meat and drumstick meat have approximately the same number of calories per ounce. A healthy serving of turkey will offset the desire to fill up with carbohydrates. Leave the turkey gravy in the boat and enjoy the flavor of the meat plain. Roasted turkey has a satisfying aroma and flavor that is appealing without any garnishment.

8. Trim away fat

Skin from the turkey should be left on the plate. Other sources of fat on the Thanksgiving table include gravy, butter, sour cream and whipped cream. Significant calories can be eliminated through a conscious decision to lower the hidden fat sources from each dish. Just because someone passes the butter dish does not mean that a portion must be taken. Condiments cover flavors that can be enjoyable without augmentation.

7. Choose fresh food

Cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries will have 10 percent of the calories that canned cranberry sauce contains. Green salad and items from the relish dish can be excellent substitutes for the calorie-laden traditional favorites. Snacking around a buffet table does not have to add large quantities of calories to the daily consumption. A carrot stick eaten without dip is satisfying because of the natural crunch. A health-conscious hostess will have plenty of fresh foods, including fruit, to assist guests with the reduction of calorie intake.

6. Fill up on veggies

Corn, green beans and squash are fall favorites that have been turned into creamy imitations. Look for the vegetables that have not been transformed. Fewer sauces and more vegetables will provide healthy sources of vitamins with fewer calories. Raw vegetables from the relish dish and green salad are satisfying throughout the day. Fruits offer a healthier dessert option in place of pies and chocolate tarts.

5. Pass on breads

Turkey stuffing, dinner rolls, cakes, cookies and snacks are made with white flour. Taste will be trumped by the number of calories consumed, without satisfying the appetite. Avoiding the bread-based foods will allow the diner to enjoy many other choices that have fewer calories. A dessert choice can be added later when breads were not consumed during the meal.

4. Avoid alcohol

A diner with an honest desire to reduce the number of calories consumed in the twelve hours of Thanksgiving Day will not consume alcohol. One drink can add 200 calories to the total number of calories. White wine has half as many calories as red wine if the traditional toast at dinner cannot be avoided. Request club soda with a twist to avoid feeling left out of the adult beverage tradition.

3. Make smart choices

Emphasize the most important foods throughout the meal. Dessert might be more important than cranberry sauce. Any vegetable that is free of butter and sauce is considered to provide free calories. Choose the foods that will provide appetite satisfaction over the sugar-laden treats. Each person will make different choices because of the priority placed on the hosts specialties.

2. Choose specialties

Eating the annual specialties is one of the best approaches to reduce the quantities of food on the plate. Items that are eaten throughout the year can be left alone on Thanksgiving Day. Mashed potatoes, apple pie and dinner rolls can be replaced with turkey, pumpkin pie and squash. The second combination is lower in calories and considered seasonal. The diner will remember the excellent tastes instead of the uncomfortably stuffed feeling from previous years.

1. Put down the fork

A disciplined diner will stop eating when the stomach feels full and satisfied. Proper food choices provide the nutrition required. Eat slowly to allow the stomach to recognize how much food has been consumed. Casual conversation is an important part of any holiday gathering. Concentrate on talking with others instead of eating as much food as possible.


Holidays can cause depression for many people. Over-eating is one method for compensating for lifes troubles. Time spent with friends and family should be filled with opportunities to make new memories. Traditions start whenever someone has a great idea that can be enjoyed in a group. Food choices are an important part of enjoying the entire day without feeling overstuffed. Good foods and good memories are naturally paired. Participate in preparing the food to meet new people and enjoy learning about the ways each traditional dish is prepared. Instead of taking a long nap after dinner, consider taking a walk around the neighborhood.

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