Each year, the average American consumes 2,000-4,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner, more than most people should consume in an entire day. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the average person gains 1 to 2 pounds. Although it doesn’t sound like much, the problem is that many people never lose the extra weight and pack it on year after year. Read on for a few tips on how to cut down on calories while still enjoying the holiday season with friends, family, and food.
Rethink Your Table
Hosting this year? Set your table with smaller plates, your guests will thank you! Research has shown that by just switching to a 10-inch plate compared to a 12-inch plate, consumers eat 30% less. Swapping out your plates for a whole year could help you lose up to 18 pounds! (You could also consider using smaller serving utensils!)
No matter who’s hosting, think about your seat at the table. Baskets of rolls, trays of butter, and gravy boats are typically placed in the center of the table for easy access. Consider sitting at one of the far ends of the table, where you’ll be far less likely to grab that extra roll, extra pat of butter, or extra ladle of gravy just by seating yourself a bit out of reach.
Just Another Meal
Often, people will skip breakfast or lunch to prepare for the holiday meal. If you treat the main Thanksgiving Day meal as a typical lunch or dinner you won’t be as likely to overeat. Skipping meals in general may cause us to eat more the next time we eat, often whether we realize it or not. When we skip meals, our bodies enter starvation mode causing us to store more energy as fat the next time we eat. This Thanksgiving, try eating until you’re about 80% full. After about 20 minutes, if you’re still hungry, go back for seconds or dessert will likely be on its way!
What About Dessert?
Dessert can be overwhelming at holiday parties with so many amazing choices that you only see around this time of year. Try to pick just 1 or 2 items that you really want and don’t go crazy with portions. Remember that Thanksgiving is just the beginning of the holiday season and you will likely see many of these same desserts at the next holiday party.
If you’re in charge of dessert this year, consider baked apples with cinnamon and whipped cream or a crust-free apple crumble. Offer your guests whipped cream over ice cream or pumpkin pie over apple. Pumpkin pie is typically lower in calories because it only has crust on the bottom (you could even try a crust-less pumpkin pie).
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!