Do not go to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner hungry: We often eat faster and more when we are hungry, therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on those days as you would any other day to avoid overeating at dinner time.
  • Have a plan: When you get to the party, start with a glass of water or a club soda with a splash of  lemon juice.  Alcohol enhances hunger, so if you reach for the alcoholic beverage first you are likely to eat more than you should.  Once you have had a few appetizers then start alternating an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water.  Not only will you cut out additional calories in your beverage, but you are less likely to overeat.      
  • Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
  • Turkey - go skinless: Choose your 4-5oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts.
  • Side Dishes - watch your portion size: Go for smaller portions.  Go for the vegetables. This way you can sample all the different foods.  Moderation is always the key.
  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal . For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.
  • Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
  • If you are preparing the meal: Substitute high fat ingredients with lower fat or non fat ingredients.  Use simple ingredients and stay as close to fresh and organic as possible.  I find it actually easier and less stressful to prepare food this way.  For example:  The traditional recipe for sweet potatoes is usually (as I mentioned above) loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows etc.  Sweet potatoes without all of those ingredients are actually great on their own.  They have their own natural sweetness and many health benefits too.  My brother has a special fondness for the way I prepare my sweet potatoes because they taste great and the calories are kept to a minimum. I would give you the recipe but I don't write them down.  I cook on the fly making it up as I go along. All I can tell you is there is a few extra ingredients I use for my Holiday Mash Sweet Taters,  extra virgin olive oil or Earth Balance Butter, grade B organic maple syrup or molasses, cinnamon and no salt seasonings.  All in small amounts of course.
  • Exercise: Go for a 30-45 minute walk before eating your meal to burn off a few extra calories. A brisk walk will help to keep your metabolism up and the feelings of guilt away.
Happy Healthy Holidays Everybody!

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