Holiday Stuffing

One day of mindless eating. Can it really damage your weight-loss goals? It seems like a vicious cycle. New Years is a new resolution to eat healthier and exercise more often. That usually lasts a month, sometimes less. Fast-forward a few warmer months brings Thanksgiving. Why is it that Thanksgiving is the holiday that everyone worries about overindulging? It’s not like these foods aren’t available all year long. The truth is, there is a lot going on during the holidays that you aren’t fully aware of. These environmental triggers often affect even the most conscientious eaters. This blog entry will discuss three of my personal tips.

Low calorie versions of your favorite dishes are always a request that I get. Although this might seem like a logical choice, people tend to eat roughly the same amount of calories by overeating. This leads to my first tip; CONTROL YOUR PORTION SIZES. Use the MyPlate approach by filling half of a 9-inch plate with non-starchy vegetables. This can include a garden salad, Brussels sprouts, green beans or carrots. Also, it doesn’t hurt to try something out of the ordinary like a fresh tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette and basil. One quarter of your plate should contain a high quality protein source. This year, we are making a turducken. The last quarter of your plate should contain a starch. This can include stuffing, sweet potatoes (no marshmallows please), winter squash, and even some wild rice. Let’s skip the milk serving during dinner and save it for a dessert option. Finally, consider the 4 ounces of cranberry sauce (home-made) your fruit portion.

Don’t even think about dessert for at least an hour after eating dinner. GO FOR A WALK. Grab your jacket and head outside to toss the football around or walk the dog. This is probably the best advice I can offer anyone. Heading outside helps with the insulin response so that you burn some of the calories consumed rather than hold onto all of it. The goal is to be as far away from food as possible. Trust me, after eating a portioned plate and going for a walk, you WILL feel good.

I want to be as reasonable as possible. Everyone wants to have some dessert after dinner with the family. I plead you to STAY AWAY FROM PREMADE DESSERTS. In other words, if it’s not homemade, don’t eat it. Premade desserts are often loaded with sugar, fat and calories and are hard to portion. I shouldn’t have to tell you the reason why that “homemade” blueberry pie from the bakery is delicious. I personally love going to chocolate for my desserts. I plan on making dark chocolate truffles with amaretto liqueur for dessert this year. Having two, two-inch truffles rather than two slices of premade pie is my way of controlling portion sizes.

Hopefully, some of these tips can help you survive Thanksgiving without binging. The goal here is to be reasonable and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without missing out on eating with the family. Next up, what to do with all of those leftovers…

Tom Dominguez

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