Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving

Did you know that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat?! With a holiday focused around food, it can be real easy to go overboard on Thanksgiving without even realizing it, so here are 7 tips to help you make some smart choices and still enjoy all your favorite dishes this Thanksgiving.

1.  Eat breakfast! So many of us think that by skipping meals we will "save calories" for the rest of the day. Wrong! Skipping nutritious foods will make you hungrier and almost always leads to over eating.  By starting your day with a small meal consisting of lower calorie choices, such as fruits or high fiber cereal, you'll help curb your appetite for the rest of the day and avoid over eating at dinner.

2. Start with Soup. If this is an option at your meal, start off with a small bowl of broth based soup. This was something we really encouraged to clients when I was working at Jenny Craig. A hot liquid, like broth based soup, can help fill you up on very few calories and make it easier to avoid over eating later.

3. Check your portions. When it comes time for dinner, find your favorite foods and take small portions.  This helps avoid the feeling of restriction which can so often lead to over eating. By taking smaller portions, your able to still enjoy your favorite dishes, but keep calories under control. Select additional options such as fruits and vegetables to help bulk up the rest of your plate.

4. Eat Slowly.  Enjoy the food  your eating, don't plow through it! This helps people mentally feel satisfied but more importantly it allows your stomach the time it needs to communicate with your brain that you are full (about 20 minutes).

5. Get Active! This does not mean you need to throw on your running pants and go for a jog or leave all that family in town to hit the gym! Take a family walk or coordinate a friendly game of football or basketball.  You'll be able to spend more time together while burning some calories (and help with digestion!).

6. Floss or brush your teeth. Kind of strange, but, flossing or brushing after a meal has been shown to help you stay away from food for about an hour!

7. Drink water! Before you reach for that second cookie or piece of pie, have a glass of water first. Many times it's hard for our brain to decipher between being hungry and thirsty (until we get that dry mouth feeling when we're dehydrated).  Water (or even decaf tea) is a low calorie way to help curb your snacking. Not only that but it also helps flush out extra sodium in your system from dinner and helps promote digestion!

As a bonus, here are two yummy recipes that are low in fat and calories that can also be made ahead (always a plus!).

Chunky Cranberry Spread

1 8-oz. package low-fat cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp. low-fat milk*
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds or other nut
1/2 tsp. orange zest, preferably fresh

Place cheese in a medium bowl and allow to soften at room temperature. Mash and work with a fork until texture is light enough to combine easily with other ingredients. *Gradually add enough so cheese is easy to spread.

Mix in remaining ingredients.   Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead, or let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend and mellow.

Spread on whole grain crackers or apple wedges.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Per 1 Tbsp. made with low fat cream cheese: 36 calories, 2g. total fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 3 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. protein, less than 1 g. dietary fiber, 29 mg. sodium.

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9" square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine sugar, pumpkin, egg, egg whites, and oil in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended.  Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, and spices.  Beat on low until batter is smooth.  Stir in morsels. Spread into pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Serves 16.
Per 1 serving:  100 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 25% daily need of vitamin A.
Recipes are from www.aicr.org. More tips to come as we continue on through this holiday season!


  1. The flossing tip is AWESOME! You're totally right, I never want to eat right after I brush of floss my teeth because they're so clean, I don't want to ruin it! haha - new to your blog, love it = )


  2. These are great tips! I am a new follower to your blog :)

  3. Thanks ladies and welcome! It makes me happy to hear someone enjoys my ramblings and it's always nice to see new faces on here!!!


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