Friday, September 12, 2008

Turkey Without the "Stuffing"

Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching. This means to many, it's the time to face a challenge - how to survive the holiday without gaining unwanted pounds.
The whole holiday season can feel like a minefield of overindulgence, and it's almost impossible not to eat more than we want to. But it's not very difficult to enjoy the bounty without bloating up as big as the Mayflower.
Some tips for Thanksgiving:
  • Have a low-calorie filling snack before the big feast-an apple, a whole-grain bagel, cereal or a small bowl of soup-so you don't arrive ravenous and lose control.
  • Put 20% fewer high-calorie foods and 20% more fruits and vegetables on your plate.
  • Eat healthier foods first. They'll fill you up somewhat, so you'll be less likely to overeat the other stuff.
  • Serve yourself instead of allowing your sister-in-law or spouse to heap your plate full.
  • Choose foods that leave evidence: Keep those shrimp tails and chicken wing bones on your plate when you're done. Studies show that if you see how much you've already had, you'll eat less.
  • Go slow. If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating. That invites seconds. Take a sip of water every bite or two to slow yourself down.
  • Use a small plate. The tinier the dish, the less food you'll take and the less you'll eat.
  • When you're in a restaurant, ask the server not to put bread on the table. Leave more room for your other favorite holiday foods instead.
  • Substitute cranberry sauce, loaded with antioxidants, for fatty, high-calorie gravy.
  • On potatoes and yams, avoid butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream. If possible, substitute low-fat yogurt or nonfat sour cream.
  • Watch the alcohol, which has almost 200 calories per ounce and slows down metabolism. Too much alcohol impairs judgment, so the more you drink, the more you're likely to eat.
  • Have just a few bites of dessert. The first bite is always best, anyway.
  • Take a stroll after dinner. Walking not only burns calories, it also helps relieve bloating and prevent heartburn.