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News » Filed under: Diet/Exercise/Weight

Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Article date: November 19, 2009

Ah, Thanksgiving: the air is cooler, the colors are vibrant, and our plates are full – both with busy schedules and hearty fall fare. For many people, the holiday season brings more than joy – it can also bring unwanted pounds. Whether it's your mom's special casserole or Aunt Judy's double fudge dessert, it can be tough to pass up those favorite holiday foods you only taste once a year. So, what can you do to avoid weight gain and stay well – and still celebrate the season? These tips can help.

Get off to a good start. Don't go to the Thanksgiving table hungry. Snack on healthy, filling foods the day of the big event. You'll be less tempted by high-calorie options if your stomach isn't growling. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. If you do, you'll be more likely to overeat.

Drink water all day long to stay hydrated. It's easy to confuse hunger with thirst. If you're going to someone else's house for Thanksgiving, ask for a glass of water once you arrive to help you feel full and avoid overindulging. And don’t head straight for the food – make a point of greeting friends or introducing yourself to new people.

Watch your portion sizes. You don’t need to fill your plate with every dish on the table. Sample small portions of your favorites and enjoy the indulgence without feeling guilty. It may help to use a small appetizer- or dessert-sized plate and fill it first with healthy choices. Leave just a little space for a small sample of whatever unhealthy treat you’re craving, but eat that last, after you’ve filled up on the more nutritious offerings.

Eat your veggies first. Fill half of your plate with vegetables. They tend to be low in calories and packed with nutrients. Just go lightly on high-calorie vegetable dishes covered in cheese or heavy sauces.

Go easy on the alcohol. Not only are alcoholic beverages loaded with calories, drinking them tends to weaken your resolve to eat better. However, if you do decide to indulge, avoid heavy holiday drinks, and stick with light beer or a glass of wine instead.

Take a post-dinner walk. Don't head straight to the couch and zone out watching football. Lace up your sneakers and head outside. Spend time with your family while burning off calories.

And remember, a few indulgences won’t wreck your diet. Just try to keep these tips in mind along the way!

 Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff


ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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