Overeating is as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as parades and football. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American consumes about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. This year, kick off the holiday season on a healthier note with these tips to prevent the “festive fifteen.” A healthy diet is key to preventing cancer and other deadly diseases, but can be especially difficult to maintain during the holidays with an abundance of fatty foods, sweets and alcohol at every party and dinner table. Here are some ways to keep your health in mind while letting yourself enjoy the best meal of the year:
– Get Active: Plan a fun activity like football, kickball or a turkey trot around your neighborhood to help your whole family get some exercise in before the big meal. You’ll have a blast together and get everyone away from the snack table for a few hours.
– Eat Breakfast and Lunch: Don’t skip the first two meals to make room for a huge dinner. Skipping breakfast slows down your metabolism, which you definitely don’t want to do before a big meal. Breakfast and lunch will help you eat less at dinner and your body will thank you for it!
– Lighten Up Your Dishes: Traditional Thanksgiving foods will still be delicious with a few healthy modifications. Try:
1. Using fat-free chicken broth for turkey basting and for making
2. Replacing sour cream and canned soups with low-fat plain
yogurt for dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles
3. Using 100% whole wheat bread and flour for stuffing and
baked goods instead of white varieties
– Pack Your Table with Veggies: People love to snack. For appetizers, serve raw vegetables that are not only low in calories, but also high in fiber which will help you detox after a larger meal. Skip some starchy side dishes and make more vegetable options- squash, leafy greens and beans are great this time of year!
– Your Eyes are Bigger than your Stomach: Take smaller portions of foods than you think. You can always go back for more, but this allows you to try every dish once without overdoing it.
– There Will Always be Leftovers: One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. You’ll eat these foods again so no need to stuff down as much as possible.
There are thousands of healthy recipe alternatives for your favorite classic dishes. Do yourself and your family a favor this year by getting some exercise and cutting out excessive fats and sugars where you can. For more healthy recipe ideas and tips for healthy living, visit preventcancer.org.