Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia 

Thanksgiving is a holiday I always think of as being very warm. Not because of the temperature outside, although this year has been uncharacteristically toasty late into November, but because of how I feel during the holiday. I’m back home with my family, I’ve usually seen my friends who have also come home to visit, I’m playing with my dogs, and I’m usually sporting a belly full of delicious, savory, high-calorie foods that will cause me guilt for weeks to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I love eating Thanksgiving food. The food my family serves for Thanksgiving (the stereotypical ones) turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, stuffing –is all so complimentary to each other you just end up eating forkfuls of all of it mixed together, or at least if you are me or my dad you do.

But if you are like me, you may feel some regret about eating all the filling, delicious foods made that day. Especially if your friends from home want to hit up a waterpark….in January. But don’t fret! We can make it through together because of a few simple tricks that won’t even make you alter what’s on the menu, just how you think about what you are eating! The Huffington Post explains a few ways to have a healthier Thanksgiving.

1.     Have the veggies out before dinner

If you are serving veggies as appetizers, make them center stage before the meal while people chat and get ready for the main event. Having veggies out allows you and others to snack on lower-calorie foods instead of dips and higher-calorie appetizers. This way you are setting yourself up with healthy choices before you even load up your first plate.

2.     Serve salad as a first course

Making the salad the first course of the meal helps you fill up on leafy green vegetables initially instead of large portions of heavier food. Try to include a high ratio of vegetables in your salad instead of add-ins like cheese or croutons.

3.     Have lots of water on the table

While indulgence of high-calorie drinks may be common on Thanksgiving, having water as the front and center option could help you and any guests both stay hydrated, and fill up a little more on water.

4.     Watch your portion sizes

In my family, it is almost customary to get at least two plates of food on Thanksgiving. If you find that you can’t resist going back for more of your favorite thing, just watch your portion size. Starting off with a smaller amount of each food might help trick your brain that you are still full by the second plate, even though you’ve eaten less.

5.     Follow the plate method

Imagine your plate is divided into thirds, sort of like a peace sign. Have one-third of the plate be for protein, one-third for salad and vegetables, and the final third for starches like mashed potatoes. This method can help keep your meal balanced and low-cal.

Do you have any tricks for self-control during the holidays? Check us out on social media and let us know!