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Surviving Turkey Day Without Putting on An Ounce Part 1

Right now, media mentions of getting through the holidays without gaining weight are almost as popular as stories about R-Patz. But I couldn’t let this week go by without sharing some of the "Thankslimming" tips I typically dish out to my clients and reporters around this time of year. I hope at least one or two will help you get through this week with a little more confidence and a lot less heartburn! ☺

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is like a fork in the road – you can take one of two paths. The first is having all the traditional stuff you love, but scaling back your servings and putting a few simple but savvy eating strategies into action. The second is lightening up your holiday fare with some slimming swap outs (I’ll have more on that technique tomorrow).

OK, here’s a quiz for you about the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Guess the calories in:

6 oz white meat turkey
1 cup mashed potatoes made with whole milk and butter
One half cup turkey gravy
Is it:
a)    350
b)    475
c)    585
G
U
E
S
S
The answer is c. This trio packs more than an entire dinner should provide. To support ideal body weight, a healthy dinner should contain no more than about 400-500 calories. If these are your staples, scale back your portions a bit to prevent calorie overkill.

1 cup cornbread stuffing
Half inch thick slice canned cranberry sauce
One half cup green bean casserole
Is it:
a)    250
b)    375
c)    450
G
U
E
S
S
The answer is c. These are generally traditions on Thanksgiving, but do you really love them? If they’re not can’t-live-without, consider a few lighter but still festive alternatives. For example, if you had steamed herbed corn and green beans and fresh cranberry sauce instead, you’d cut the calories in half. 

1 dinner roll with 1 Tbsp butter
16 oz sweet tea, soda or lemonade
Is it:
a)    225
b)    335
c)    450
G
U
E
S
S
The answer is b. One glass of a sweetened drink contains about 10 tsp of sugar, more than the maximum recommended 6 tsp per day for women and 9 for men and liquid calories aren't filling (e.g. you won't compensate by eating less food). Also just 1 Tbsp of butter provides 40% of the maximum amount of saturated fat you should have in a day. Bottom line: these two are duds nutritionally and not delicious enough to spend your calories on. 

1 slice pumpkin pie
8 oz coffee with 2 Tbsp half & half and 1 Tbsp sugar
Is it:
a)    325
b)    405
c)    510
G
U
E
S
S
The answer is b. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, a major immune booster and anti-aging antioxidant, but just one slice (traditional recipe) packs over 300 calories. Bake it without the crust and you’ll shave off 110 calories per slice, that’s 880 calories per pie.

Total for the meal: 1,775, about a full day’s worth of calories. You’d have to take a brisk 5 hour walk to burn off this entire meal (watching football only burns about 70 calories per hour).
Instead:



  • Ditch the roll with butter

  • Trade sweet tea or soda for sparkling water

  • Cut the portions of everything else in half

New total: 720 - a savings of over 1,000 calories. Go for a one hour walk after dinner and you’ll burn off about half of that off!

More to come tomorrow…

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