5 Ways to Enjoy Your Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Without Packing on the Pounds
by Nicole Mosely | on November 19, 2012
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, the anticipated traditional Thanksgiving dinner is on many of Americans’ mind, while some have already started prepping their big dinner. Although this meal is great, the level of indulgence, snacking, and wolfing down this delicious meal comes at huge cost to your body and health.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American consumes 4,500 calories and 229 fat grams during their traditional thanksgiving dinner. WOW, no wonder research suggestion that 10% of Americans gain 5 pounds or more with most Americans gaining only 1 pound during this time of the year.
The big factor of this potential weight gain is Thanksgiving sides, which are highly carbohydrate based, such as macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, candied yams or sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing or dressings, potato salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, and those overcooked vegetables that will not have much nutritional value do in part to how the veggies are cooked. Also, don’t forget those yummy, succulent desserts of pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple pie, cakes, peach cobbler and so many others. It is quite possible to consume 4,500 calories in this meal.
5 Ways to Guilt Free Enjoyment of Your Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
Start planning for your Thanksgiving Day food consumption. To do this, cut back on high fat and high calorie foods 2 to 3 days before your turkey day dinner. This will allow you to balance out your total weekly calories intake over the span of 7 days.
Exercise daily the week of Thanksgiving. Your exercise should include some form of cardio and strength training. Cardio shrinks fat and burns calories, while strength training shapes your body and burns calories. The difference between the calories you burn doing cardio and the calories you burn doing strength training is with cardio once you stop running, walking or cycling your body stops burning calories; however with strength training, your body continues to burn calories hours even days after you stop lifting.
Exercise on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. This one should be included in the daily exercising of Thanksgiving week, yet the tendency is to take these days off completely. With that said, there needed to be an emphasis put on working out the day of eating your traditional Thanksgiving dinner and the leftover day, Black Friday. It will get your metabolism fired up, you will feel great about yourself, and won’t feel guilt while eating your dinner and leftovers.
Plan a family active activity on Thanksgiving Day. Whether, you have an active family or not, this is a good way to burn some additional calories while at your Thanksgiving Day party. Make it fun and get the kids and adults involved. Don’t let the cold weather stop you. Some ideas include flag football, tag, volleyball, snowball toss, pillow sack race, bike riding, jump rope, an active game on Wii, or a dance contest.
Eat, Eat, Eat before your Thanksgiving Day dinner. The biggest mistake many people will make is not eating anything until dinner on this day. This will send your body in to overdrive meaning it will start storing the things it needs to function such as fat and carbohydrates. These two are what activates your fat storage hormones, which causes weight gain not weight loss. Since this traditional Thanksgiving meal is loaded with carbs and fats, it will not be good for you. Eat a lean protein pack breakfast and snacks. Some breakfast options are eggs and toast with peanut butter, low fat cottage cheese, or steel cut oatmeal with protein powder. Here are a few snack options string cheese with grapes, protein shake post-workout, beef jerky, or Greek yogurt and fruit.
Bonus: Eat a small salad, small bowl of soup, or drink 12 to 16 ounces of water 15 to 20 minutes before dinner. No matter how many times you fill your plate up, make sure you have some protein on it each time. Protein will prevent spikes in your blood sugar to stabilize your insulin levels keeping your metabolism burning consistently throughout your meal.