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Fill your plate with this, not that on Thanksgiving

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are full of gatherings and good tidings. However, increased temptations of high calorie, high sugar, and high fat foods, along with colder weather make maintaining healthy habits very challenging.

Where do calories add up quickly?

Calories hide in many places during the holidays at home, gatherings, and work.

  • Appetizers – tiny finger foods are easy to eat in excess and are calorie dense.
  • Drinks – festive drinks are often high in sugar, like punch, and sometimes in fat, like eggnog. Alcohol has been nicknamed “liquid fat” because it is closer in calorie amount per ounce to fat than carbohydrates.
  • Gravy and sauces – sauces add fat and salt to dishes.
  • Snack bowls on end tables, coffee tables, and desks – it is easy to grab a handful of high-calorie nuts or candies every time you walk by.

Instead of that, do this!

Choose a 5 oz. slice (the size of an iPhone) of skinless turkey breast instead of a skin-on thigh. You will eliminate 320 calories and 16 grams of fat.

  • Sautee fresh green beans with onions in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil instead of green bean casserole.
  • Bake a sweet potato instead of sweet potato casserole. You will save 325 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Dip the items that you want gravy on in a small dish of gravy instead of pouring gravy over your plate.
  • Add more vegetable dishes to your holiday menu. Vegetables should take up half of your plate.
  • Choose vegetable crudité with hummus and shrimp cocktail at the appetizer table instead of sour cream based dips, pastry/bacon wrapped items, and bread-based appetizers.
  • Omit added cream, sour cream, and butter from dishes. Minimize the amount of salt added to foods
  • Choosing a slice of apple pie without ice cream instead of pecan pie will eliminate 250 calories.

How to cut down portions:

  • Take only what you really want to eat, there is no need to mound everything served onto your plate.
  • Wait for 20 minutes after finishing your first plate to decide whether you are going to have seconds. If you are full, stop eating.
  • If dessert is a must, have only one serving of your very favorite dessert.

Enjoy the company!

Taking breaks between bites of food to talk and laugh will slow down eating. This allows your body to begin digesting, and you are less likely to become over-full. Taking a walk as a family or group after a holiday meal is a great way to rev up your metabolism and keeps you from being sedentary after a big meal.

Therese Hrncirik, RD, CDE

Therese Hrncirik, RD, CDE works with diabetes and weight management patients at the Billings Clinic Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism Center.

3 comments on “Fill your plate with this, not that on Thanksgiving

  1. I seriously need to get my weight under control. I am 5′ 3″ and 220 pounds, have bad back, arthritis, one knee replacement and no energy.

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