Can you smell the turkey? I sure can. Many people look forward to the last Thursday in November to devour delicious homemade food made just for the occasion – Thanksgiving. But for people on a diet or those who work hard to watch their weight, this holiday seems like a fat trap.
Though many believe it’s inevitable not to stuff your face and gain weight on Thanksgiving, try focusing on these 10 tips so you can keep your fitness in check and get your gobble on.
1. Eat a hearty breakfast
People often save all their calories and hunger for the big buffet lunch or dinner, but doing so will likely cause unhealthy overeating. Although you may hear recommendations to keep breakfast light that day, remember it’s the one meal where you’re completely in control of how it’s made. Whip up a healthy morning meal full of fiber to keep you feeling full longer.
2. Participate in a 5k
Start your day burning off calories by participating in a fun, holiday-themed race. Check out Running in the USA’s list of all 5ks and races happening throughout the U.S. in November. Note: There are plenty happening on Thanksgiving!
3. Steal the veggie tray
OK, don’t steal anything. But there will likely be finger foods offered while the main course is made and prepared, and if there’s a veggie tray, you need to make it your best friend. Avoid fatty finger foods, and opt for clean, healthy vegetables instead.
4. Fit all food on one plate
If your biscuit rolls, cranberries, corn bread, rice, beans, turkey and ham can’t fit all on one plate, then you’re probably serving yourself too much food. Find a normal-sized dinner plate, and serve all your festive favorites on that dish only.
5. Don’t go back for seconds
As delicious as your mom’s turkey or your uncle’s sweet potatoes may taste, don’t fall in the trap of getting multiple servings. We all know “just a little bit more” is never really just a little bit more, and the more food you serve yourself, the more likely you are to lose portion control.
6. Organize a tournament
If you’re celebrating with a group of family and friends, it’s the perfect opportunity to plan a sporting tournament of your choice. Be it football or even ultimate Frisbee, organize a game and tell your guests about it before the big day. The more thorough and enthusiastic you are, the more people are likely to participate in your fun, active, pre-meal activity.
7. Drink plenty of water
Although drinking water throughout the day is important, sipping down a couple glasses before your meal is key to tricking your body into feeling fuller. A study published in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” even showed people who drink water before eating consume about 75 fewer calories every meal.
8. Take a post-dinner walk
Instead of falling asleep on the couch to a football game, take a stroll outside after you’ve eaten your meal. It will help keep your metabolism going while burning a few extra calories.
9. Avoid the usual treats
If you eat bread rolls and sweet potato commonly throughout the year, avoid serving yourself these foods on Thanksgiving. Focus on eating those specially prepared dishes you only get to enjoy on this holiday.
10. Start now
It may not be Thanksgiving yet, but there’s no reason you can’t jumpstart your calorie-burning now. In the upcoming days, plan to incorporate at least one form of physical exercise daily and keep focused on a healthier meal plan. The better you feel about your fitness now, the more likely you are to enjoy wisely this Thanksgiving.