Be healthier this Thanksgiving

People say that Thanksgiving is about bringing together friends and family and taking time to be thankful for all the good things in our lives. However, if we are being honest, Thanksgiving is also about food – massive quantities of delicious, yummy, once-a-year food.

According to, the average American consumes around 3,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner. This dinner, or sometimes dinners, can include (but is not limited to) appetizers, salad, the main course: turkey and other meats, mashed potatoes, some form of casserole, and dessert. Then, we tend to eat the leftovers from this feast until the next big holiday meal in December. The opportunities to gain a few pounds are endless.

If you a™re not feeling like gaining that extra blubber this winter, there are ways to still stuff your face while not consuming two times your daily calories in one meal. Here’€™s a few tips on how to have a healthier Thanksgiving:

1. Start off by eating breakfast the morning of. The hungrier we are, the faster we tend to eat, which leads to overeating. Drinking plenty of water will also help you feel fuller.

2. It’s all about portion control. Thanksgiving does not have to be an all-you-can-eat buffet nor a race to see which family member finishes their plate first. Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with lean meat, and the rest with a starch of your choice. And no, green bean casserole does not count as a vegetable. Eat slowly and (try to) stop when you are full.

3. Be smart about your turkey. Go skinless; by doing so, you will dramatically cut down on fat and cholesterol. The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory reported that the skin alone on a 3 ½ ounce portion has 484 calories, 44 grams of fat, and only 19 grams of protein, compared to a white meat breast of the same weight with only 161 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 30 grams of protein. White meat is also a healthier choice because it has less fat, calories, and slightly more protein than dark meat.

4. If you a€™re serious about being healthy, you have to limit your intake of high-fat items. These are the fried and creamy dishes, otherwise known as the best part of the meal. Therefore, moderation is the key. Simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size.

5. Experimenting with a healthier recipe is an easy way to be a little healthier. For example, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese, milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you are the honorable chef, you can try substituting high fat ingredients for lower-fat or fat-free ingredients.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, and enjoy yourself in the mirror afterwards this year by being a little smarter about what you eat.