For as long as we can remember, as soon as Halloween and the trick-or-treating end, we start gearing up for Thanksgiving. And we, for one (OK, maybe for two!) can’t help but start craving our mom’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie…and her sweet potatoes…and her apple pie and, well, all of our holiday favorites.
If you’re like our clients, you want to know how we, as registered dietitians and authors of The Secret To Skinny handle Thanksgiving. And it truly is hard to handle – there’s everything from dessert temptations to the nasty effects that holiday food can have on your digestive tract.
It’s no secret that you can do a lot of damage to your waistline during the long Thanksgiving Day weekend if you’re not careful. So here are the things that help us and our clients stay on track:
1. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of overdoing it at Thanksgiving dinner.
Skipping meals is a huge mistake! This backfires when you get to the meal feeling so ravenous that you can’t turn down any of the high calorie foods or drinks– whether you like them or not. Let’s face it, if you’re going to overeat, you want to try to do the least damage that you can and save it for the foods you love!
2. Start with a well-rounded breakfast, making sure to include fiber to fill your stomach and protein to help to stay satisfied.
Think: oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg or whole grain toast with an apple & a nonfat Greek yogurt.
3. Exercise in the morning before the festivities start.
Whether we go to the gym or run or walk outside, we make sure we do this so we feel better all day. It helps us to stay on the healthy track. Plus, it never hurts anyone to burn a few extra calories.
4. Wear fitted clothes and snug belts to keep from overeating.
This works beautifully, just don’t loosen your belt or unbutton your pants!
5. Keep sugar-free gum handy.
We chew a piece when we’ve had plenty but still are craving– it distracts our taste buds and saves hundreds of calories. New research reveals that gum chewers are leaner, plus it gives you fresh breath! (Lyssie goes for Sweet Mint; Tammy opts for White Bubblemint)
6. We request that our mom has plenty of veggies for us to fill our plate with–and she knows we mean business.
She’s been warned–it’s always best to have too many veggies than not enough. And for any of you who plan to invite us over in the future, you’ve been warned. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower and spinach all work for us! (If you are a guest and want to bring something delicious and guilt-free for you host and so that you also have something to fill up on, bring our Skinny Mash [see recipe below])
7. Make veggie sides rather than casseroles and instantly save 100-400 calories.
Steam carrots or green beans or blend a butternut or acorn squash. Casseroles are often filled with creamy, cheesy or high fat ingredients, so choose fresh vegetables over high calorie side dishes and flavor with delicious spices–try Herbs de Provence (savory and rich tasting).
8. Substitute with seltzer.
A mixed drink will set you back 250 calories while a 5-ounce glass of wine will cost you 120 calories, and we prefer to use our calories on food. If alcohol is your thing, clearly wine is the calorie saving option. Make yours bubbly like a wine spritzer by adding seltzer to thin out the calories even more.
9. Carry Senokot Tablets.
Despite doing our best to get plenty of veggies (fiber!), exercise and drink water, holiday stress is hard to avoid. Maybe it’s the traveling, the lifestyle changes, changes in dietary habits or family issues…we can all experience occasional constipation. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. So we keep Senokot® Tablets on-hand –they contain a natural vegetable laxative ingredient and work gently to provide overnight relief from occasional constipation.
10. We use this recipe for our mashed potatoes to keep the calories in check. Lighten Up Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes with This Yummy Recipe too!
The Nutrition Twins Skinny Cauliflower Mash (excerpted from The Secret To Skinny)
Swap this delicious side dish for mash potatoes–you’ll trick even the biggest mashed potato fans (we promise!) and save yourself hundreds of calories!
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1/8 cup skim milk
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Pepper, to taste
- Butter spray (10 sprays)
Steam cauliflower until tender when poked with a fork. Place cauliflower (pieces), skim milk, garlic, and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Place mixture in a small baking dish and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees in oven until bubbly.
Makes 3 servings.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories 32.6, Total Fat 0.6 gram, Saturated Fat 0.1 gram, Carbohydrates 5.7 grams, Protein 2.7 grams, Fiber 0, Sodium 34.2 milligrams