According to figures by Consumer Insight, the average Thanksgiving dinner (three ounces of turkey with gravy + one serving of mashed potatoes + one serving of cranberry sauce + one serving of candied yams + one serving of green bean casserole + a slice of pumpkin pie + two bread rolls with butter) adds up to 2,777 calories and 90 grams of fat.
Yes, just one meal provides approximately a day and a half’s worth of calories and fat for most people.
It isn’t too far-fetched, then, to say that on Thanksgiving Day, many people can take in almost 4,000 calories.
One huge mistake I see many people make on holidays like Thanksgiving is starving all day (or follow non-sensical rules like “I will eat nothing but celery sticks until dinner”) in anticipation of a huge meal where high-calorie foods are at their disposal.
End result? Gorging and bingeing all through dinner (and taking in more calories in one sitting than they would have had they eaten sensibly throughout the day) followed by some unrealistic diet goal announcement like, “that’s it. Tomorrow it’s nothing but chicken broth and grapes.”
The best thing you can do before sitting down to a meal where overindulgence seems imminent is to prepare yourself.
Approximately forty five minutes to an hour before dinner, snack on foods containing fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
Some good pre-Thanksgiving dinner snacks include a handful of nuts, a Lara/Clif Nectar/Pure bar, whole grain crackers with hummus, and a bowl of whole grain cereal with raisins or a banana.
If you can make it to the dinner table without starving and wanting seconds of everything, you can enjoy your meal without overloading on calories.
Besides, you know as well as I do that slices of those tempting pies — along with every other dish — will be in the fridge tomorrow (and the day after, and the week after that). There is no need to shove it down if, by the end of dinner, you already feel like a Macy’s parade balloon.
Also, find ways to make classic dishes healthier.
Serve whole wheat rolls with trans-fat-free margarine, opt for oven-roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes drizzled with olive oil and topped with chopped rosemary in place of mashed potatoes, and check out this delicious low-fat pumpkin recipe made with a whole grain crust!