For some the horror of Black Friday stems not from the crowds but from the fear of stepping onto the scale the morning after Thanksgiving Day. This dreaded step is warranted considering that the average American consumes 4,500 calories during their feast. Luckily, you can counteract the aftermath of this bloating holiday with just a few simple swaps.
1. Let’s Talk Turkey. When selecting your cut of the bird, stick to the white meat. The dark meat definitely has some nutritional benefits, but it is less lean and offers twice as much fat.
2. Starch Awareness. We all know all starches are not created equal. When it comes to the standard options, mashed potatoes, corn bread, rolls, yams, which is the safest best? Stick to a dinner roll over the cornbread and you’ll save yourself around 50 calories per serving. Sweet potatoes by themselves are much better for you than regular potatoes. Unfortunately, once piled with brown sugar and marshmallows this candied side does a nose dive onto the dessert table. Choose the mashed potatoes and ladle on a modest amount of turkey gravy to avoid the orange pit fall of the too-sweet potatoes.
3. Un-Stuff Yourself. Stuffing is unfortunately a sponge of butter and fat with some garnish. Even more so if yours actually cooks inside the bird and soaks up the drippings. I know what you’re thinking…yum! I’m not about deprivation, so just keep your portion down and go with a slightly larger dose of green beans.
4. Booze to Lose. When selecting a libation to accompany your dinner, go for red wine. It’s rich in antioxidants, good for digestion, and aids in cutting down belly fat.
5. Just Desserts. The normal battle of the pies is pumpkin versus pecan. Both have great bones, but unfortunately thanks to a gooey overload of corn syrup, pecan pie often morphs into frankendessert by the time it’s heaved onto your plate. Stick with a homemade pumpkin pie with a small dollop of whipped cream to save over 100 calories.
6. Portion Control. Here’s the thing, it’s not always about what we eat, it’s the sheer quantity that does the damage. Since most often the Thanksgiving meal is served buffet style, you have all the control. Start with small portions of everything and you can always go back for more. More often than not, you’ll find that if you chew and savor the food your original helping will be plenty. Plus you have room for dessert! Need some extra will-power? Use a dessert plate instead of a dinner plate. Your plate looks full, which is easier on the eyes, but you’re still eating less.
Gobble ’til you wobble is a catchy phrase to stick on a hand towel or apron, stick it to your gut or thighs and it’s suddenly less cute. Enjoy your Thanksgiving even more this year by keeping yourself in check calorically and starting the holiday season off right!