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Healthy Eating for Thanksgiving

It is the holiday season once again; which means loads of tasty food. Thanksgiving only comes around once a year and often we over indulge. So, what is the harm in splurging, right? According to WebMD the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. While this seems like a minimal amount, without increased exercise it does not get taken off throughout the year. With a small amount of planning, the guilt and worry of over indulging can be significantly minimized; and without cutting out the foods that we love.

Some foods only come around during the Thanksgiving season such as pumpkin pie or green bean casserole, and it is hard to resist taking more then we need. While taking large portions is easy to do, sticking to smaller portion sizes can allow us to enjoy all of the delicious specialties, and not feel stuffed after we are done. It is reasonable to enjoy a variety of different choices, just be mindful of how much you need to feel satiated. This is a simple step, but is hard and takes a lot of self-awareness to know when you are full.

Along with smaller portions, eating slowly can also influence the amount of food that we eat. Eating slowly gives the body a chance to respond to what we have just put in it, allowing the “full” feeling when the body has had enough to eat. When an individual eats too fast this “full” feeling can be overlooked. Another way to reduce over eating is leaving the dinner table after everyone has finished. By visiting with food on the table it encourages more eating. Instead initiate the clean-up; this will take stress off of the host and allow for everyone to have more time together.

Thanksgiving has good food and it is hard to stop with just one small helping. Using low-fat and no sugar options are a great way to cut out calories without taking away from the amount eaten. Not everyone will use these options, but by bringing one of your own it can take a large chunk out of caloric intake at the Thanksgiving meal. While many may think that saving up our calories for the big meal is advantages, experts say that eating a well-rounded breakfast in the morning can help give you more control over your appetite. This could be something as simple as an egg, whole wheat toast, fruit, and a glass of milk. Putting something in your stomach will stop you from being starving when you arrive at the gathering.

Healthy eating during the holidays does not mean you have to watch everything you eat. Being mindful of your portions, eating slowly, choosing low-fat and no sugar substitutes, and eating a well-rounded breakfast are a few options to decrease caloric intake. Eating healthfully is not always easy during the holidays, but choosing one or a few of these options can help. It is easy to over indulge, but with some planning it can be avoided. So, have a plan in place and enjoy the food, friends, and family; most of all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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