And soon it begins, the seemingly never ending feeding frenzy that stretches from Thanksgiving all the way through New-Years and (sometimes even Super-bowl Sunday). So many occasions to splurge ‘just this once‘ . But nearly 3 months of ‘because- it’s- a- special- occasion,- I’ll- treat- myself’ eating can do some serious damage to your waistline, not to mention your health.
Here are a few tips as well as easy substitutions you can use to keep you from going completely off the rails this holiday season.
Drink plenty of water, all day every day. Don’t drink your calories. Reduce or eliminate sweetened beverages during the workday and evenings. Instead, make water or green tea your beverage of choice except for during the celebratory events. Not only will this lower your overall calorie intake, water is essential for every cell in our bodies, and if you opt for green tea you will get a healthy dose of antioxidants as well. Flavor your water with slices of fruit if plain water just doesn’t appeal to you. Or look for single serving drink mixes ( avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame) True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange, and True Raspberry lemonade are made from fruit. You can find these in the powdered drink aisle.
Jump start your day with a quick effective workout that will give your metabolism a much needed boost and help burn calories right through the meal!
For a super quick workout you can do anywhere that needs only your body and your effort, do the following exercises with as much intensity as you are able for 15 seconds then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat the exercise a total of 4 rounds before moving to the next exercise (For more advanced exercisers, increase work interval to 20 seconds and decrease rest to 10 sec) .
- High knee march or run in place
- Push ups: hands on edge of bench, counter or table if you are not ready for full pushups
- Ground zero jumps: sit back as if to squat then stand as quickly as possible (like jumping but keep feet on the floor)
- Plank: Top of pushup position balanced on hands and toes hold for time keep abs, glutes and thighs engaged
- Prisoner squat w/ alt high knee lift: (Prisoner =Hands behind your head as if being handcuffed, keep elbows wide squeezing mid back for all reps)
- Side Plank: switch sides each round 2 per side
- Jumping jacks
- MT Climbers: hold top of pushup position and pump knees as if running
Just 16 min of all-out effort will yield you massive calorie burn for hours after.
Eat a healthy breakfast containing a combination of complex carbs and protein to keep you blood sugar stable for hours. Don’t go more than 4 hours without at least a small meal of protein and complex carbohydrates. Do not skip meals trying to “save the calories; instead, eat high nutrient foods at regular intervals to keep your metabolism humming along.
Leave the sweats at home wearing snug fitting clothes will automatically help keep you in check .
Fill your plate with meat and vegetables and take smaller portions of starches like potatoes, stuffing and bread. The protein in the meat and fiber in the vegetables will fill you faster and digest more slowly helping control blood sugar spikes.
Enjoy the dishes that only come around on the holidays such as stuffing and skip the ones you can have any day, (bread, butter, corn, )
Here some healthier swaps you can make at the your annual Thanksgiving feast
- Dark meat – although it is only a bit more fat and calories than breast meat, on this day, every little bit helps
- Skinless turkey breast – removing the skin removes unwanted fat calories
- Raw veggies with no added sauce are a great alternative.
- Steamed veggies without creamy fat laden sauces
- Sweet potatoes or Yams – a healthier version to white potatoes, when they aren’t drowned in butter, sugar and/or topped with marshmallow.
- White potatoes – are a bit less healthy, and often made with butter and cream, can have more impact on blood sugar levels
- Scalloped potatoes – usually made with butter, cream and high in sodium , usually better off avoided..
Sauces and toppings
- Butter & Gravy – Turkey isn’t usually the culprit, it’s gravy that people pour over it
- If you must have gravy, skim the fat from the turkey dripping before adding thickener, by cooling your drippings slightly, a layer of fat will rise to the top, spoon it off then add thickener ( Be aware , opting for canned gravy instead can still be full of fat and sodium)
- Whipped butter – same butter taste only lighter in fat and calories.
- Olive oil mayo – a healthier alternative to regular mayo.
- Opt for canned skim milk in recipes that call for cream.
- Use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, get more protein while slashing fat and calories
Breads and Stuffing
- Stuffing – Make it with whole grain bread and plenty of veggies then replace ½ the butter with chicken broth to lighten it up help yourself to a small portion to save even more..
- Skip the rolls you can have them anytime.
Opt for Pumpkin pie, While it still contains plenty of calories Pumpkin pie still comes in ahead of others like apple pie or pecan pie due to the nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin A,- Vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
Want to see what your really eating? Go here for nutrition profile of the typical Thanksgiving Dinner offerings. (*PDF of calorie counts)
Go for and after dinner walk with the family or join in ( or start) the annual after dinner football game .
Start tomorrow of with a high intensity workout to utilize some of the extra calories you enjoyed, and stick to lean protein and high fiber veggies keeping your starches low for the next few days to make even more headway.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Look Good Feel Good Live Better!