Succulent drumsticks bathed in rich gravy, velvety mashed potatoes generously smothered with butter, and decadent pecan pie with oozing gooey goodness might be tempting—until you consider their impact on your waistline. While it's unnecessary to completely forgo your cherished Thanksgiving delights, making subtle adjustments and incorporating smart substitutions can significantly contribute to preserving the physique you've diligently cultivated. So let's explore these eating hacks to avoid the Thanksgiving weight gain.
Eat before the actual Thanksgiving feast.
You read that right! Arriving at the feast with a growling stomach sets the stage for overindulgence, so it's essential to pre-game by consuming a wholesome, low-calorie snack. Consider having a bowl of vegetable soup approximately an hour before the main meal to curb your appetite. Another excellent choice is nibbling on an appetizer veggie platter.
Dress in a form-fitting outfit.
Another practicable tip on how to avoid Thanksgiving weight gain is by reserving your loose, comfortable attire for a different event. Go for a well-fitted garment, such as skinny jeans or a form-fitting dress. Wearing something slightly snug can discourage overeating as you'll begin to feel discomfort sooner. Successfully making it through the meal without needing to loosen the top button of your pants indicates that you're on the right track.
Make healthful swaps of ingredients when cooking or baking.
Whether you're the Thanksgiving dinner host or contributing dishes to share, consider making your recipes healthier by reducing sugar and calories. Numerous strategies can contribute to a healthier Thanksgiving spread.
For mashed potatoes, enhance the flavor by incorporating chicken broth, coconut oil, herbs, or roasted garlic as alternatives to butter or heavy cream.
In the case of green bean casserole, go for toasted almonds instead of fried onions for a less oily option. Rather than traditional cranberry sauce, consider preparing a cranberry salad.
When it comes to dips, substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream. While maintaining a similar consistency, yogurt offers more protein.
Use whole grains as turkey stuffing.
Eating healthy on Thanksgiving is possible by filling your turkey with whole grains. Bake the stuffing separately to avoid absorbing grease from the bird, which not only enhances safety (according to the bacteria police) but also guarantees thorough cooking.
Ditch the regular white bread crumbs and impress your guests with a whole-grain blend. Explore the slightly nutty profiles of quinoa, rice pilaf, or a bulgur stuffing infused with dried cranberries and hazelnuts. While it may not cut down on calories, you'll be adding a plethora of antioxidants, along with fiber, iron, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins to your meal—and earning a chorus of compliments.
Create single-sized versions of the most celebrated dishes.
Want to be a healthy host? Elevate the table setting and prevent excessive indulgence for everyone, including yourself, by presenting individual portions of the most decadent menu items.
For instance, consider baking stuffing in muffin pan cups, preparing sweet potato or green bean casserole in individual ramekins, serving creamy soups in espresso cups, or presenting gravy or lavish salad dressing in shot glasses. Pre-portioning removes the chance of heaping those potatoes too high.
Resist the temptation of going on a second round of serving.
Resisting the urge to go back for seconds.
Trust us. Leftovers often taste better the next day. By sticking to a single plate, you're less likely to overindulge, leaving ample room for a delightful dessert.
Go for white turkey meat, vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie as they generally have fewer calories. However, even with your favorites, keeping portions small allows you to savor without overeating.
Rather than challenging yourself to see how much you can consume, serve modest, golf ball-sized portions of everything you desire, without restrictions. Prioritize satisfaction over excess, and enjoy the variety without overdoing it.
Easy on the cocktails.
Being mindful of the calories in alcoholic beverages as they can accumulate rapidly.
Go for a glass of wine or a wine spritzer, and in between alcoholic drinks, consider enjoying sparkling water. This approach helps you stay hydrated, control alcohol calories, and maintain sobriety.
Keep in mind that cocktails and desserts often come packed with sugar and calories, so choose a single indulgence—but remain aware of portion sizes. Consider opting for one small slice of pie or half a cup of eggnog. Make a wise and conscious choice.
Use colorful plates.
If you're the host of the party, use colorful plates instead of the usual elegant white China porcelain. This is because you're guests are inclined to consume more when light-colored foods, like turkey and mashed potatoes, are presented on white or cream plates.
Studies indicate that the greater the contrast between your food and the plate color, the less you're likely to eat or overeat. Embrace bold plate choices!
Thanksgiving extends beyond indulging in a delectable feast. It's an opportunity to commemorate connections with family and friends. Rather than fixating on the culinary delights, channel your attention toward the whole celebration, relishing the unique sights, sounds, and company present at the event.
Rather than tasting every appetizer before the main meal, take a stroll and engage in conversations with family and friends.
Get the mindset of maintaining your weight not losing unwanted pounds.
The holiday season is a period of celebration, and amid hectic schedules and numerous temptations, it's a prudent choice to focus on weight maintenance rather than weight loss.
How to avoid weight gain during Thanksgiving? Shifting your mindset from weight loss to weight maintenance can be a proactive approach. Successfully avoiding any weight gain during the holidays puts you in a favorable position.
One of the ways how to not gain weight on Thanksgiving is by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Instead of lounging in front of the TV after your Thanksgiving meal, consider taking a short walk around the neighborhood, either on your own or with friends and family. Even a 15 to 30-minute walk can contribute to calorie burning and overall health.
Throughout the holiday season, it's crucial to allocate time in your daily routine for exercise. Planning and scheduling this time in advance often leads to better adherence. The benefits are substantial as regular exercise not only helps maintain fitness and heart health but also enhances mood and helps manage stress.
Stay Active and Do Mindful Eating in Every Feast
With a lot of conscious effort not to overindulge during a Thanksgiving feast and maintaining an active lifestyle, you'll surely keep the holiday weight gain at bay.