Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Make It a Healthy Thanksgiving

Despite the current pandemic, the biggest meal of the year is about to occur. Whether your plans are a lot smaller than in years past or not, the question is, are you ready? The average Thanksgiving dinner has over 2,000 calories. You don’t have to starve yourself or exercise excessively to counteract this monstrous meal. With some smarts and a little willpower, you can eat, drink, and still button your pants when it’s over. Follow these tips to the dinner table and have a healthier Thanksgiving …

Plan Ahead

Before you get to cooking, schedule a workout prior to your big meal. Even a short workout may reduce appetite. Some studies monitored the brain activity associated with appetite. They found a decrease in food interest immediately after exercise.  Don’t take a holiday from your health. Exercise is usually the first thing people won’t make time for. You owe it to make time for yourself. You probably want to spend the day with family and football games and the excessive amount of sitting that occurs with it so make your exercise time count. Be sure to eat a complete breakfast and make time for lunch. Even a light lunch is better than “saving up room.” Always remember to slow down when eating too. When hungry, we often eat faster and dish out larger portions. By eating fast, more food is consumed before the brain registers the stomach’s fullness. Also, alcohol absorbs more quickly into the bloodstream on an empty stomach so drink responsibly.

Choose Wisely

Know everything being offered before you serve yourself. Then, prioritize your favorites as a few splurge choices. You may prefer dark over white meat, yet decide on leaner white slices so you can save a splurge for something that matters more. Serve yourself with a table spoon instead of a serving spoon or ladle. This lets you sample the variety without overeating. Go for the healthiest options first– veggies, garden salads, and lean meats. There will be less room to pile on the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and creamy casseroles. Satisfying your hunger throughout the day prevents gorging on appetizers and pre-meal bread. Leftovers are permissible so stock up on plastic containers to share the wealth of leftovers. Everyone can enjoy a little slice of Thanksgiving in the days that follow. And, no one person is stuck with the burden of a week’s worth of overeating the same foods. 

Get Moving

Many use turkey as an excuse to laze around post-feast. Experts acknowledge turkey contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, popularly cited as a kind of dietary sedative. However, it is not likely the cause of Thanksgiving Day fatigue. Tryptophan‘s sleep effect only occurs on an empty stomach when eaten with no other protein sources. This same amino acid is found in other common foods, like eggs, yet no one claims they have a sedative effect. Perhaps the popular association between turkey and fatigue is a placebo effect. More likely, Thanksgiving fatigue is the outcome of overeating and that extra cocktail. A full stomach requires blood for digestion, which reduces blood flow elsewhere. Big meals, especially those high in carbs and sugar, naturally trigger sleepiness from the effort required to digest.

Seize the Quality Time

Holiday stress, particularly this year, induces fatigue. Instead of sleeping off the effects of food and family, take a walk. Get fresh air and perhaps a fresh perspective on the day, a tense situation, or the meaning of life. An invigorating walk burns off calories and allows time outside the confines of what is likely an over-crowded house. Practice mindfulness so your senses truly come alive this holiday season. Indulge in the moment, notice each breath, and savor every delicious bite.

Wishing all of you a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better

Note: See you all again on December 8th for another year of the 12 Days of Fitness

A Thanksgiving Prayer

This post is a borrowed, guest post if you will from Mr. Thomas Plummer, a gentleman I respect greatly. Mr. Plummer has been in the fitness industry for over thirty years as a business coach/adviser to those of us in the fitness industry. I had saved this post last year but I wanted to share with you now and hope you find the inspiration from it as well.

My Thanksgiving prayer for you.

May you….

  • Change the world around you by the strength of your caring.
  • Forgive everyone and learn that nothing in life is worth carrying anger for even five minutes. Stupidity is their problem. Carrying anger toward stupid people is your issue. Just refuse to play.
  • Become the old crusty, crazy person in the gym who just laughs, smiles and keeps on keeping on year after year savoring every workout and living for just one more day at the gym.
  • Learn that wasting your talent might be the biggest sin there ever was. You aren’t judged by what you did, but by what you should have been.
  • Remember that your past has no hold on you and your future is yet to come, but today is everything in life and all that matters. Miserable people live in the past. Dreamers live in the future. The world is changed today.
  • Understand that if you get it right as a coach everyday, other people reach goals they never knew existed. There is no bad day as a coach, just another day carrying the world and that is a good thing.
  • Learn that you can’t carry the world until you can carry yourself. You will never be you living in someone else’s shadow.
  • Know that no one, including you, ever got to be you on his own. Remember where you came from and say thank you often.
  • Learn that cheap people suck the life out of the universe. If you want, then give. If you need help, then help others. If you have been helped, then pay it back. And buy a round now and then just to set the world on fire.
  • Remember that family is everything now and there is no one on the other end of that phone that is ever more important than 30 minutes with your family and friends. Put the phone away and live today.
  • Finally learn that money isn’t bad. Money exists for the sole purpose of giving you the freedom to live life on your own terms. There is no other reason for money.
  • Thanksgiving is a day to be gracious, thankful and humble. You have so much and others have so little. We all have problems, but ours always seem so light to carry when compared to those who have lost so much.
  • Happy Thanksgiving. I thank you all for the support and friendship for so many years. You have all allowed me to live a life beyond my imagination when I was young. I appreciate you all and wish you all a perfect Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Thanksgiving Day Survival Guide

buff-turkeyThanksgiving has become one of, if not, my favorite holidays of the year – so much to be thankful for and blessed to have family to share it with. Most of all, the food! I’m all about the food! The smells, the abundance, the limitless second and third helpings – I can’t wait. As a fitness professional, I have a very healthy relationship with food and understand that one day does not ruin my metabolism, waistline, or health. For some, that is not the case and the holiday meal becomes more an exercise in what not to eat rather than just enjoying it for what it is – a celebration. Nevertheless, if you still have a hard time coming to terms with just enjoying yourself, here’s a short checklist to perhaps lighten your anxiety a little bit.

  1. DO NOT SKIP MEALS! Limit your intake of calories leading up to the big feast. Eat breakfast and a protein-packed lunch (if dinner is later). If you starve yourself during the day, you could wind up SO hungry that by the time you sit down at the dinner table you eat WAY too much food.
  2. Go for lean, white meat turkey to get the most bang for your calorie-buck. Dark meat has about 15% more calories and 30-40% more fat than light meat. If you prefer the dark meat, then at least take off the skin since that is where most of the fat (added calories) is.
  3. Start with the protein (animal or vegetarian). Start with your protein choice and then work on the vegetables. Leave the starchy carbs until the end. The protein will help slow the brake down of the starchy carbs.
  4. Pause and take some breaths. After you finish each serving on your plate put your fork down. Chew your food and take a couple of slow deep breaths. Enjoy what you’ve previously eaten before starting on the next serving. The deep breaths don’t have to be obvious. Taking pause and some deep breaths will also help aid digestion.
  5. Choose calorie free beverages. If you are going to be having alcoholic beverages then everything else you drink should be calorie free. Skip the soda and juices. Drink lots of water to avoid the dehydration that comes along with drinking too much.
  6. Ask if you can make a side dish – make it a tasty guilt free dish so you will have at least one thing to splurge on. Veggie dishes don’t have to be boring.
  7. Burn calories! The more calories you burn with activity, the more food you can consume without feeling terrible about it. Do not skip the exercise leading up to the feast or on the day of. Make time to get exercise and raise your heart rate. Your metabolism will thank you for it.
  8. Wear form fitting clothing and you will be less likely to overeat. No sweat pants or stretchy pants. No one wants to see you with your pants unbuttoned after the meal.
  9. Use a salad plate instead of a regular dinner plate. If your plate is smaller you will not have as much room on it and won’t overload it with too much of the stuff you shouldn’t have a lot of.
  10. Keep your goal in mind! What are you trying to accomplish? Are you really doing yourself a favor by not enjoying a festive meal when your dietary habits aren’t all that great to begin with? Are you competing in a few weeks in a physique contest? Have you diluted your nutrition knowledge so much that you don’t even know what it means to eat anymore? The point here is this: health has as much to do with mental well-being as well as the physical and the nutritional. Don’t allow yourself to be drowned by negative thoughts or fears. Enjoy the day, enjoy the meal, and bask in everything you have to be thankful for. Just don’t allow one day to become two, six, or 30!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

A Heartfelt Thanksgiving Wish

happythanksgivingIn what always feels like the blink of an eye, summer has ended, fall happened somewhere shortly thereafter, and the holiday season is upon us which seems to begin earlier and earlier each year! Alas, in the speed bump month known as November we get to celebrate what I think is the most special holiday on our calendar – Thanksgiving. It’s a perfect time to reflect and be grateful for all that we have and endured to have, regardless of race or beliefs. And yes of course, there’s that wonderful feast centered around food without all the extra “distractions” and stresses. Thanksgiving has different meanings for everyone but I wanted to share with you some of the things I am most thankful.

I am sincerely grateful for:

  • My wife and our little boy. Every day they are the reason to keep pushing on whether it be for work, a competitive event, or life in general. They’re who I start and end every day with and nothing could be more comforting.
  • My parents. They nurtured me to become the man I am today and I now appreciate their wisdom more as an adult with my own family than I did many years ago.
  • My family, including my siblings, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. We share the greatest time and memories and we’re together more in a year than most families are in several years.
  • The friends and acquaintances I have made throughout the years. I truly believe the people you meet in life are not by chance and I have been blessed.
  • All of my clients, past and present, who I’ve had the opportunity to work with on many levels. They’ve not only made it possible for me to do what I love but have made me a better professional. They’ve put their trust in me as a source of honesty and integrity and I would never jeopardize or take that for granted.
  • My health. I’ve had my share of my own hiccups and certainly no comparison at all to the really tough journeys some others face, but I work at it daily through exercise, nutrition, and my lifestyle and I’ll never take it for granted.
  • My mentors and coaches. Through the years I’ve learned to assimilate all of the great advice along with all of the not so good or poor examples and cherish it all as lessons to make me a better person.
  • The men and women who protect our country. Their service and dedication is priceless and in the current state of our world today is more critical and appreciated than ever.

Thanksgiving is more than just a “kick-off” to another season so enjoy it for what it truly is. Eat what you want, drink what you like, and celebrate whatever is most important to you. On a health note, don’t make yourself crazy worrying about calories or overeating. It is but one day and one day is not going to magically sabotage any of your efforts, especially if your dietary habits are good year round. Oh, and one more little tidbit on fitness. Going to a marathon workout either before or after the festivities to get ahead of or burn the calorie surplus is a loss in futility. It simply doesn’t work that way; yet another lesson that it’s not what you do but how consistently you do it.

Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

The Caloric Price Tag of The Thanksgiving Meal

downloadToday’s post is not meant to dampen your holiday spirits. I enjoy Thanksgiving as much as anyone (as an adult it has become more my favorite holiday) and I do not intend to allow one day of enjoyable, perhaps gluttoness eating ruin my holiday spirit or waistline. It’s more to just shed some light and awareness about not only the caloric consumption of the Thanksgiving meal (just the meal itself, not the day) and what it would take to burn those calories off. In my experience, most have no idea about how many calories they consume in a day let alone what it would really take to burn them off. In turn, rather than enjoying the holiday, they have fears of enjoying the day when in reality they don’t eat well or exercise consistently enough throughout the other 364 days that the point is moot.

Chow Time

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume between 3,000 and 4,500 calories during the Thanksgiving meal alone. That’s considerably more than the estimated 1,600 to 2,400 that women need and 2,000 to 3,000 that men need in an entire day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. So how does a Thanksgiving Dinner stack up?

  • 1 cup Mashed Potatoes, 237 cal
  • 1 cup Green Bean Casserole, 230 cal
  • 1 cup Candied Yams, 203 cal
  • 1 cup Canned Cranberry Sauce, 418 cal
  • 1 cup Stuffing, 350 cal
  • 1 cup Turkey Gravy, 100 cal
  • 1 Biscuit, 128 cal
  • 1 Dinner Roll, 84 cal
  • 1 pat Butter, 36 cal
  • 3oz Turkey Breast with Skin, 134 cal
  • 3oz Turkey Breast without Skin, 88 cal
  • 3oz Turkey Dark Meat with Skin, 136 cal
  • 3oz Turkey Dark Mean without Skin, 106 cal
  • 1 slice Pumpkin Pie, 323 cal
  • 1 slice Apple Pie, 411 cal
  • 1 slice Pecan Pie, 456 cal
  • 1 cup Whipped Cream, 154 cal
  • 1 cup Vanilla Ice Cream, 289 cal

Time To Go To Work

So how much work would it really take to burn off that holiday feast? Let’s use an example of a 150-pound person and what it would take to burn off 3,000 calories. Keep in mind that personal calorie burn will vary with intensity, body composition, age, gender, and weight. Here are 12 examples:

  • Brisk walk (greater than 3.5 mph) of 13 hours
  • 9 hours of casual downhill skiing
  • 15 hours of nonstop dancing
  • Running with a respectable 6 mph pace (10-minute mile) for 4 hours
  • 6.5 hours on the elliptical
  • 8.5 hours of an intermediate Pilates class
  • 3 hours and 40 minutes of a competitive squash match
  • 6 hours of lap swimming
  • 15 hours of weight training
  • Moderate cycling indoors or outdoors for about 5.5 hours
  • 5.5 hours of snow shoeing
  • 17 hours of hatha yoga

Yes, Thanksgiving is a once-a-year celebration but the average person gains about one to three pounds during the holiday season — and doesn’t lose it over the course of the rest of the year. There are a couple of things you can do to combat the holiday-season bulge such as keeping portion sizes in check and opting for healthier  substitutions. The other option of course is to keep up with a regular exercise routine, not just a pre and/or post turkey burn workout.

Have a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving with your families!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Fitness

crazy-shoppingFor those of you who live and love to shop, these past few days have kicked off the most wonderful time of the year. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season, has bargain hunters up and at it early in the morning, or even during Turkey Day itself, to get the best deals on wish list items. Cyber Monday, which only came to be coined as recent as 2005, is the Monday right after Thanksgiving where those who like to shop on-line instead (i.e. me) send servers into overdrive. Retailers hope it will be days before the smoke clears from the registers before the season is considered a success. Unlike shopping however, fitness is not something that can be accomplished in two days and much longer before it can be considered a success. But there is potential in all that shopping that can be turned into something good.

Mission: Fitness While Shopping

Yep.  Even someone like me who loathes shopping can find a positive spin on this.  Some of the more obvious things to consider:

  1. Walk, walk, walk.  Don’t endlessly circle for the upfront spot. Park in the first spot you see first.  Yes, it might be the farthest but by the time you finally find that “perfect” spot, you could be inside ahead of the other shoppers and a few calories in the red.
  2. Avoid escalators and elevators. Use the stairs if and whenever possible.
  3. Eat to shop just as you would eat to exercise.  Grab an apple with a handful of almonds before heading out or take with you. Take a bottle of water with you and stay away from those deadly coffee drinks and smoothies that are more costly calorically then their marketing would have you believe.
  4. Make several trips back to the car. Don’t lug all of your loot all over the place if you don’t have to.  Sure, carrying around the extra resistance wouldn’t hurt but think of it as more of a chance to revaluate your progress.

Mission: Avoid Emotional Fitness Purchases

It may not be January yet, but the push will be on to sell the newest, latest, proven methods for losing weight, increasing health, developing core strength, etc. Books, equipment, programs – they’re all going to sound great; the final solution to what you’ve not done the past 3 years or more.  Back in March of 2011, I did a series on the most useless pieces of exercise equipment. By now that list has grown.  Four ad words to avoid: “As seen on TV”. Understand this. No one product is a solution for something that has to be addressed on multiple fronts.

Mission: Keep Moving

A client recently put the shopping for fitness theory to the test.  Using the Fitbit activity tracking device, she tracked her physical movement for Black Friday and this is what she saw:

  • 22,129 steps
  • 22 floors climbed
  • 9.59 miles
  • 2822 calories burned

All from just shopping. (results will greatly diminish from on line shopping of course)  Perhaps we need more Black Fridays.  Who knew? May be shopping is the way to a healthier new you.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 33,100 push ups done as of publishing time

 

 

Turkey Day Myths and Facts

not a turkeyOne of my greatest memories as a kid was waking up to the smell of the Thanksgiving Day turkey beginning its hours of roasting.  The smell would permeate the house and by the time it was finally time to eat, I had already devoured it in my mind.  Certainly a lot less calories that way!  A Thanksgiving Day meal is something to enjoy, but for some it spells dietary doomsday.  As a fitness professional both in and out of health clubs, I’ve both witnessed and heard the Turkey Day is doomsday mentality. The reality is, one meal does not a body ruin and most of those fears are based on pure myth, not fact.

Myth #1 – Thanksgiving is WAY TOO fattening

While most consume more than they normally would on any other meal (average calorie consumption for Thanksgiving dinner is 3,000 calories!!!), it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.  The same rules to clean, smart eating can still be adhered to. Fill half your plate with vegetables (broccoli, salad, etc), ¼ with complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, stuffing, etc.), and ¼ lean protein (turkey). Watching portions and controlling the urge for 2nd’s and 3rd’s will go along way to preventing loosening the belt buckles and still enjoying the meal. The good news is even if you are the heartiest of eaters, it is very unlikely that you will gain a pound or two of fat from one meal.  Pounds may appear in the form of extra water weight since body weight can fluctuate anywhere from 3 to 7 pounds the day after Thanksgiving just as in any other time of year.

Myth #2 If I exercise Black Friday, I will burn off all of the calories I accumulated Thanksgiving Day.

Again, if you eat your weight in food, one exercise session is not going to take it all miraculously off.  While exercising the next day is better than sitting around, one day of a gut wrenching, sweat dripping workout is not going to make up for a day of eating a little more than usual. In a perfect world, if you burned as many calories as you consumed, you wouldn’t have gained any weight. It’s not a perfect world and that’s not quite how the body operates.  The good news? If you’re consistent with your exercise program, the slight net gain will become a net loss much sooner than if Black Friday is your first day back to a routine.

Myth #3 Tryptophan in the turkey makes me sleepy and lethargic.

 

There isn’t enough trytophan in a serving of turkey to make a giant sleepy.  The desire for a post meal nap comes from the huge surge and then big drop in blood sugar caused by the large number of calories consumed in one meal. Keep in mind other times of the year you might eat turkey.  Does it make you sleepy then? 3,000 calories at one meal however may just do that.

Fun Turkey Day Facts

  • Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday in November, established by Congress in 1941, and can occur as early as November 22nd, just as in this year.
  • While the picture and story of the Pilgrims is told as the first Thanksgiving, there are actually 12 other accounts claiming where the first one was held.
  • 535 million pounds of turkey are consumed on Thanksgiving alone.
  • The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade is in Philadelphia, started in 1920.
  • The turkeys depicted in Thanksgiving pictures are not the ones consumed at dinner. Domestic turkeys are much bigger and can’t fly.
  • The Presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey is said to have started by Abraham Lincoln when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey.

Wishing You and Your Families a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Thanksgiving!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 32,100 push ups done as of publishing time

Note: My apologies for the double posting last time.  Issue with the server has been resolved. Next month I’ll be doing my 12 Days of Fitness, 12 days of health and fitness tips to help keep you on track through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  If you’d like me to cover or discuss a particular subject, please forward me your ideas to fitjeff27@comcast.net.

 

Thanksgiving Survival Tips

d_56234_22604_061113104442684Definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year, Thanksgiving unfortunately strikes fear in the eyes of those who have struggled with or are in the process of  losing weight. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be one of those gatherings where you feel (and look) ashamed afterwards. Neither is it something you “get through” This Thanksgiving, allow me to equip you with basic caloric information on some holiday favorites and healthy eating tips. It’s up to you to choose and portion it out intelligently so that you don’t end up looking at your belt notch in shame. Remember, Thanksgiving is a joyous occasion and that one overindulgent meal won’t be the one that makes you gain weight. It is the many large meals in a row and consistently poor eating habits that will do you in.

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

1. Use a smaller plate. Studies have shown that when we eat from a smaller plate, the illusion is created that we are eating from a full plate, thus making us feel like we’ve eaten enough.

2. Eat what you like, but in smaller portions. Don’t skimp on the pie or your favorite indulgent sides. Enjoy it all and most times, only a taste is necessary to satisfy your craving.

3. Drink lots of water. While it’s important to stay hydrated, drinking water between bites or even before the meal will make you feel fuller sooner.

4. Don’t starve yourself for the “feast” or “feasts”. Simply “banking” your calories for the big meal is a sure fire way to send your metabolism into a spiraling frenzy.  Eat as you would normally that day and avoid the sudden blood sugar surges and crashes. (Fun Fact: The myth that tryptophan makes you sleepy is just that – a myth.  The amount of tryptophan you would have to consume to make you sleepy is way more than even the heartiest eater could consume.  What makes you sleepy? The extraordinary large amount of calories at one meal that cause the blood sugar to rapidly rise and subsequently crash hard afterwards.  Think about it.  Do you get sleepy eating turkey any other time of year?)

5. Eat slowly. Chew your food; enjoy it; savor it; don’t inhale it.  Eating faster than the brain can process the signals from the stomach that you are full will almost certainly lead to overeating.

6. Eat plenty of salad and vegetables. No different than any other meal, fill up on the fibrous, good for you vegetables for a more nutritious, satisfying meal that won’t break your belt.

7. Limit your drinking to a glass of red wine. To be really conscience of your eating and its aftermath, limit your “liquid” calories.

8. When you feel full, stop eating. Sounds too much like common sense, but don’t eat to the point of uncomfortableness. Enjoy the day and all you have to be thankful for, especially being able to push away and walk from the table.

9. Go for a walk after the meal. Movement stimulates good digestion. Get up and move around after the meal, and more than just going from dining room table to recliner.

Food For Thought

And here’s some caloric information for those Turkey Day favorites (a serving size should be just about 4-5 ounces of turkey or other meat):

Roasted Turkey (4 oz.): 153 calories, 5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, <1 g carbohydrates, 92.5 mg cholesterol, 397.5 mg sodium

Pumpkin Pie (my personal favorite) (5.4 oz.): 260 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 33 g carbohydrates, 85 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium

Gravy (2.2 oz.): 80 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 3 g carbohydrates, 5 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium

Mashed Potatoes (8.3 oz.): 230 calories, 6 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium

Candied Yams (6.0 oz.): 170 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 37 g carbohydrates, <5 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium

Cranberry Sauce (3.6 oz.): 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium

Stuffing (3.8 oz.): 160 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 21 g carbohydrates, 15 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium

Remember, one day will not make or break your health and fitness success.  Enjoy it and be thankful for all there is to be thankful for. My best wishes for you and your families to have a Happy, Healthy and Delicious Thanksgiving!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

 

Give Thanks For Healthy Thanksgiving Food Choices

Healthy-ThanksgivingThanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday.  There’s no frantic shopping, stressing about what gifts to buy, or jumping from holiday party to holiday party.  It’s simply a day to sit back and appreciate all you have to be thankful for with family, friends, and those who you hold dear and close.  And of course, there’s the eating from sun up to sun down that most of us will enjoy, but many would rather avoid. Thanksgiving does not mean you eat everything in sight.  It’s just one day on the calendar to enjoy what it means to be alive, and for those who think one day is going to ruin their best efforts to be healthy year round; here are some quick tidbits of advice to make even the worst of the dietary nightmare days not so intimidating.

Appetizers

Most meals we eat year round are not preceded with an appetizer.  Why should Thanksgiving be any different? Still face an uphill battle before dinner is served? Choose raw veggies, grab a few whole grain crackers, have some fruit and stay away from creamy dips, spreads, or anything that looks deep fried.

Beverages

A small glass of wine, champagne or a bottle of light beer won’t harm anyone. Water is still the preferred beverage of choice but you can kick it up by adding some cranberry juice or swapping the water for a glass of sparkling water with lemon.

Main Courses

Turkey and chicken are healthy food choices, as long as you go with the white meat and skimp the gravy. Love the stuffing and potatoes? Don’t deprive yourself. Have a small helping and avoid reaching for seconds. Most importantly, eat slowly and savor every bite. You’ll be surprised how little it takes to satisfy your taste buds when you practice mindful eating.

Side Dishes

Seek out the veggie dishes and fruit salads that are not laden with sauces, butter, creams, and sugars. The closer they are to their natural state, the fewer calories they contain.

Desserts

Give yourself a little slack on this one. A small wedge of pie, a cookie or two, or a small piece of cake is not going to ruin your year. And don’t think that by spending three hours on the cardio equipment Black Friday is going to negate the calories because that’s not how it works.

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Thanksgiving.