Oh, Thanksgiving here you come with all your glorious food, making it hard to watch portion sizes and get away from the buffet table. It’s is even harder to say no to seconds when you have a Nana, Grandma, Mother, or even a second cousin trying to give you their love through food. Thanksgiving makes it hard to watch your waistline and practice a healthy lifestyle.
Try not to do what Joey does in this Friends episode. You don’t need to put on your Thanksgiving pants to enjoy the holiday! Instead, follow these five tips and your waistline will be thankful for your healthy choices later:
1) Practice the best exercise move you will ever need to know! Pushing away from the table. It sounds easy, but if you can master this move you may save yourself a bellyache and a few extra pounds. Once, you feel about 75% full excuse yourself from the table. If you really want to look like an amazing guest start clearing plates after a few family members have finished or do the dishes. This will keep your hands busy so they are less likely to grab rolls, desserts, or any leftovers setting out.
2) WATCH YOUR PORTIONS. This tip is no secret and yet it might be the most difficult tip to follow at holiday meals. However, if you can control your portions you WILL save yourself a few extra pounds. Are you unfamiliar about what different portion sizes look like?
Here are a few basic guidelines you can use to watch your portions:
- 1 cup = baseball
- 1/2 cup = tennis ball
- 1 oz or 1/4 cup = golf ball
- 1 tsp = about the size of 1 die
- 1 tbsp = poker chip
- 3 oz of chicken or lean meat = deck of cards
- 3 oz of fish = checkbook
I also like using my hand as a measuring tool at holiday parties. It is a easy tool to use and you won’t leave home without it. One fist equals about one cup. The palm of your hand or smaller is about three to four ounces of meat. A rounded handful is one half cup serving of your favorite side dish.
3) Don’t skip breakfast. Trying to “save up you calories” for that one big meal is not a good idea. Your body will think that it is in starvation mode and lead to your metabolism (energy burning system) slowing down to conserve energy. Then, when you get to Thanksgiving dinner your brain will tell your belly to eat everything it wants because your body thinks it is walking through a dessert and needs to pack in the calories.
4) Eat Slow. Eat Slow. Eat Slow. Finishing your plate first will not result in a prize, so slow down and enjoy the meal and the conversations around you. It takes about twenty minutes for you brain to tell your stomach that it is getting full, so if you finish the food on your plate in under that time (like my father) you miss that check point and will overeat.
5) Fill up on VEGETABLES. OK, I said it! Eat your vegetables is a sentence I will repeat throughout the rest of my career. It never gets old, because non-starchy vegetables fill you up and are so low in calories you could eat cups full of them. However, I am not talking about the starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes. Those need to be eaten in moderation (1/2 cup = 1 portion). If your vegetable is covered in cheese, sauces, or gravy, it also needs to be eaten in moderation. This Thanksgiving try filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables that are steamed, boiled, cooked or raw without all the extras on them.