Weight Throughout the holidays, the average American gains about a pound of weight. Why? It’s all thanks to the absolutely ridiculous amounts of food and drinks that our families serve night after night during Thanksgiving time. The smorgasbord seems to never end.
From turkey to pie to mac and cheese and everything in between, there’s no denying that Thanksgiving adds a ton of unnecessary calories to your diet. But, there are a bunch of ways to help you keep that summer bod. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you learn how to avoid gaining bad weight during Thanksgiving time.
1. Stick to veggies
Thanksgiving is traditionally known for its heavy, fatty dishes. It’s like we’re all playing to win the game of “who can fit the most on his or her plate.” Foods like mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, stuffing and pecan pie top the list.
But there are usually some healthier options on the table, too. Don’t overlook these! Sticking with vegetables instead of fried options will help you in your quest of keeping off the lbs. Stack your plate with corn, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and lean turkey. You’re not trying to eliminate every enjoyable option you see, but making an effort in the right direction is a huge step.
Using your common sense can go a long way here. Though it may be impossible to have a truly “healthy” Thanksgiving meal at whatever event you attend this holiday season, being smart about what goes on your plate can save you in the long run.
2. Go easy on the drinks
The holidays are a time of celebrating with friends and family, and those celebrations usually include alcohol. A survey found that Americans typically have between 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks on Thanksgiving.
But those drinks are typically loaded with calories and sugar that you might not expect. If you knew that your glass of holiday punch had three times the amount of sugar in a regular-sized Gatorade, you might think twice.
On average, a single 12 oz. bottle of beer has 153 calories, a whiskey sour has 163 calories, a glass of sweet wine has 165 calories and sugary drinks like a piña colada can have up to 490 calories. Three bottles of regular beer alone adds up to 490 calories.
3. Eat slowly
One of the easiest ways to reduce calorie intake is to eat your meal slowly. When we eat fast, we tend to eat more than we should. Eating slowly has been shown to reduce that tendency. You’ll begin to feel the food and you’ll fill up faster than you would if you scarfed down your plate.
4. Eat breakfast
You might think that skipping breakfast might put you in a position to eat more when the Thanksgiving meal rolls around, but quite the opposite is true. If you show up to the Thanksgiving table hungry, you might be more tempted to overindulge.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to eat regular meals. While it may seem like you’re eating more, eating regular meals promotes self-control and boosts your metabolism. And remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
5. Mind your snacking
It’s so easy to go overboard with snacking at Thanksgiving events. If you’re mindful of what snacks that you eat, you can save yourself from empty calories before you even eat the main course.
If there’s an hors d’oeuvre table, snacking on fruits and vegetables is a lot more nutritious than heavier options. You should definitely avoid anything fried, dairy-based or breaded.
6. Burn some calories post-meal
Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to survive Thanksgiving without overindulging, but you can always burn off some of those extra calories.
Taking a short walk, jog or bike ride can burn more calories than you’d think. You could even make it a family tradition. There are plenty of ways to exercise outside if the weather allows, but there are also exercises that can be done in a small space, too.
7. Get some good sleep
Sleeping is essential to cutting out unwanted weight gain during the holiday. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the rest it needs to be able to function properly.
Your metabolism will slow down, and you’ll end up craving more unhealthy things. It’s not a good situation to have! Make sure you’re getting a good night’s rest to curb cravings and maintain a steady metabolism.
8. Try not to stress out
The holidays can be extremely stressful. Whether it’s family drama, work or extensive travel, the holiday season usually brings about an increase in stress levels. But, don’t succumb! Stay far away from stress, because it can lead you down the path of snacking on sugar and drinking more caffeine.
When you’re stressed, you’re likely to miss meals and eat sporadically, which is a terrible way to maintain weight. Do your best to keep yourself less stressed — whether it’s meditation, a moment of silence or a massage. Do what you gotta do!
Drinking a healthy amount of water per day is so often overlooked. Especially during the holidays, make sure you’re drinking enough H2O! Staying hydrated will curb your appetite, keep you from eating unnecessary snacks, and help you stay more awake and alert during your family time. There’s literally no downside to drinking more water!
Don’t feel like you have to keep a checklist…
Everyone has different ways of trying to stay healthy during the holidays. Maybe the best you can do is add some more water to your diet and going for a post-meal walk around your neighborhood.