8 ways to enjoy Thanksgiving without overeating

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and, as always, there’s a lot to look forward to. Every year, families gather to enjoy each other’s company and delicious food. For most, the day revolves around the main Thanksgiving meal, which often lasts for hours. While the extended meal gives us more quality time with loved ones, it also means more time to eat. And by eat, we mean overeat.

It’s easy to get carried away on Thanksgiving. Many dishes are only served at Thanksgiving, which makes it hard to avoid seconds or thirds. And talking and eating at the same time makes it hard to keep track of how much you’ve consumed. In fact, the average person eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving—that’s about double the recommended daily calorie intake for most adults! (For estimated calorie needs per day for different groups, see the newest USDA Dietary Guidelines.)

This year, we want to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and avoid overeating so the only thing that’s stuffed is the turkey. Eating too much, especially for kids, can be bad for health. We recommend keeping these tips in mind this upcoming Thanksgiving and during the year.

  1. On Thanksgiving, accept that it is okay to eat a little more than usual. Trying to restrict yourself can lead to a sense of deprivation. In kids especially, this can lead to rebellious behavior and sneaking extra helpings of food when no one’s looking.
  2. Use smaller plates, bowls, and serving utensils. This automatically controls portion sizes since it limits the amount of food people can serve themselves and eat.
  3. Fill plates with more veggies. Traditional Thanksgiving meals have plenty of delicious veggie sides and appetizers, like green beans and sweet potatoes. Focus on these and limit the starches—that means try to cut back on rolls, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.
  4. Drink water instead of other beverages. Water will help you feel more full and slow down the pace of the meal.
  5. Keep up conversation with your family and friends. The more time you spend talking, the less time you spend eating.
  6. Slice pies and other desserts into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces, smaller portions.
  7. Set up activities for kids. Nothing distracts kids like a fun game or activity. Play frisbee or tag in the backyard or park. If it’s cold, then activities like drawing and coloring are great for indoor fun.
  8. Remind yourself about leftovers. Thanksgiving leftovers are just as delicious, so tell yourself that you’ll see the food again. In fact, having more leftovers will make meal prep and packing kids’ lunches even easier. In fact, check out our featured recipe for Lemony Turkey Wraps for a new way to use up leftover turkey.

We hope these tips are helpful. And we wish everyone a fun, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!


Photo courtesy of Metro

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