10 ways to Avoid Overindulging on Thanksgiving Day

During Thanksgiving its easy to go overboard with calorie consumption. It's hard to stay disciplined when you are surrounded by temptations of your favorite Thanksgiving foods. These tasty treats may remind you of family traditions or you may find yourself eating to please a family member or friend that put loving care into the meal. Eating healthy on Thanksgiving doesn't mean avoiding all of your favorite foods; instead, eating healthy entails moderation and mindfulness. It is okay to have a dessert, but don't lost your self control entirely. Here are some recommendations to avoid over eating on one of the biggest food days of the year and still leave room for dessert.

1. Stick to smaller portions: Take only one plate of Thanksgiving food. Fill up half your plate with vegetables and fruit, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes (if you must) or better yet a sweet potato and another quarter of it with turkey. The more colorful your plate is, the better. If you are able to bring a dish, bring roasted veggies or a colorful salad, then you know there will be good things to fill up on. By filling up on lower caloric and nutrient dense foods, you will feel full, not bloated and tired.‚Äč

2. Eat before the Thanksgiving meal: Don't starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you're just "saving room" for all the food, this is a recipe for overeating. If you're going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you're going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon. It is important to have your normal meals because when we get over-hungry, we overeat!
3. Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones: There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving foods healthier. For mashed potatoes, try mixing in chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter. You can also choose to make mashed cauliflower as a substitution for mashed potatoes. When making a green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a better alternative. Instead of having, cranberry sauce, opt, instead, to make a cranberry salad.  When creating dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The consistency is similar, but yogurt has far less fat and more protein. Also, to reduce fat, avoid eating the skin of the turkey. Dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, but limiting your helpings of unhealthy sides or dessert will have a much bigger impact than just eating white meat instead of dark. Enjoy a little dark meat if you like it. Just limit other foods. If you are baking homemade pie, opt for whole-wheat piecrust or Gluten Free crust and substitute low fat or skim milk for evaporated milk.
4. Drink a lot of water: Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. By drinking a lot of water throughout the day, you will lower the risk of overeating.
5. Take a walk after eating: It's also a great idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of lying on the couch.
6. Avoid snacking throughout the day: Abide by the "out of sight, out of mind" mantra. Once you've filled your plate with food, cover up the food and put it away. It will help you to avoid mindless eating. When you snack throughout the day, it is easy to lose track of how much you've eaten.
7. Slowly savor your meal: Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites. Tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with less food.
8. Go Easy on alcohol: Don't forget that alcohol calories can add up quickly. Have one glass of wine or a wine spritzer or just enjoy sparkling water, this way you stay hydrated and limit alcohol calories. When you drink alcohol you lower your defenses and may have a tendency to want sweets.
9. Find enjoyment without total denial: The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss. Shift from a mindset of weight loss to weight maintenance and you will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining weight over the holidays.
10. Focus on Family and Friends: Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It's a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends. The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet or desert table.


Get Directions
Balance Health + Wellness
1901 N. Clybourn Ave
Chicago, IL 60614-5569
Get Directions

Office Hours

Monday8:30 - 1:003:00 - 6:00
Tuesday9:00 - 3:00
Wednesday8:30 - 1:003:00 - 6:00
Friday8:30 - 12:00
Saturday9:00 - 12:00

Newsletter Sign Up