6 Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner Without Getting Stuffed

6 Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner Without Getting Stuffed

Do you dread the holiday battle of the bulge? Right now, you’re probably trying to avoid your kids’ stash of Halloween candy, but in a few short weeks you’ll be trying to figure out how to indulge in your favorite Thanksgiving foods without the button on your pants flying across the room.

You might have heard that the average American gains 5-10 pounds over the holiday season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s), but the average weight gain is only 1 pound. Though, if you’re already overweight, you’re more likely to gain that 5-10 pounds. That’s comforting, but some of us can’t even afford that one extra pound. [1]

But we’ve got your back. If you follow these simple suggestions, you shouldn’t have to buy a brand new wardrobe in January. Enjoy yourself, but don’t go nuts.

“If you’ve got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don’t lose control entirely,” says Jennifer K. Nelson, a registered dietitian and director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Keep your willpower and your wits about you.”

1. Skip the Baggy Clothes


If your first inclination is to wear the pants with the elastic waist to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Opt for something a bit more form-fitting. You don’t want to be completely paranoid all day, but you’ll be a little more aware of the fact that stuffing your face will make your belly hang out. And if you start to feel a little uncomfortable, you’ll know it’s time to stop eating. [2]

2. Eat Before the Big Meal


Don’t go into the fight starving and ready to pass out. Make sure you eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and have a healthy snack before dinner so you’re less likely to overeat.

3. Come Prepared to Stop Eating


Is there anything worse than toothpaste and orange juice? Cranberry sauce and a breath strip probably come pretty close. When you reach the point where you think “I should probably stop now,” seal the deal with said breath strip, a strong mint, or even reapplying some lipstick. You can even pull a Pink Panther and dump a little water on your plate when no one is looking to make it look less appetizing.

4. Create Healthy Sides…and Eat Them


If you’re worried about all the sugar, fat and carbs that will be waiting for you at the table, make a healthy side dish. You know – the green beans without the crunchy fried onions and cream of mushroom soup. Then make sure you eat some of it, so you fill up on the healthy stuff and have less room in your stomach for the mashed potatoes made with a full stick of butter.

5. Replace the Garbage with the Good Stuff


Your Thanksgiving spread can still taste amazing, even without all the unhealthy ingredients – or less of them. Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. Swap oils for fruit purees in baked goods. Add yogurt or fat-free sour cream to make dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles deliciously creamy. [3]

6. Walk it Off


All that tryptophan in the turkey is going to make you want to crash on the couch in front of the TV. Resist the urge to drift off to the background sounds of the football game and go for a post-meal walk. Announce your intentions when you arrive, too – it will help you stick with your plan. Taking a walk will work off some of those calories. Plus, you’ll probably be so proud of yourself that you’ll have an easier time resisting that second slice of pie. [4]


[1] The New York Times

[2] The Huffington Post

[3] WebMD

[4] Health