CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many people will feast on turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie.
Holly Doan, a nutritionist at Giant Food Stores, says most people gain one to two pounds over the holidays. That can add up to a lot of extra weight over the years.
“Really, you’re trying to focus on at least getting half your plate filled with fruits and vegetables and then making sure you have the protein part there because the protein and fiber are the two things that keep you fuller and help keep you fuller longer,” Doan said.
Doan has 10 tips to avoid weight gain during the holiday season:
Balance your plate + day
Eat three meals plus snacks. Try to eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism going. Eat three bites of each thing on your plate and stop.
Make an action plan
Choose a high-protein breakfast to start your day. Never show up to Thanksgiving dinner hungry. Have a small snack before your Thanksgiving feast. Bring your own healthy dish. Use a smaller plate.
Watch the beverages
Liquid calories add up quickly. Be moderate about your intake. Choose the smallest size for your favorite holiday drink, have skim milk or water, and limit add-ons such as whipped cream. Try mixing flavored seltzer water with a splash of cranberry juice and garnish with orange slices.
Find a physical activity your family enjoys and make it a tradition. Exercise the day before and after Thanksgiving to offset extra calories. Be active 30 minutes each day, and set small goals.
Be mindful of fullness
Eat slowly because it takes your brain 20 minutes to recognize fullness. Sit in a chair, eat while at a table, and put your food on a plate. Try putting your fork down in between bites.
Try simple swaps and additions
Try zucchini or eggplant instead of pasta. Use avocado in place of butter. Use spices or herbs instead of salt to flavor food. Substitute rolled oats or bran cereal for breadcrumbs. Add apples, walnuts, or dried fruit to stuffing.
Set realistic expectations
Aim to maintain your weight during the holidays. Do not swear off all holiday treats.
Avoid having an assortment of treats in the house. Limit break room visits if it tempts you. Fill your refrigerator with healthy options, such as cut vegetables, a fruit basket, or trail mix.
Thirst can mask itself as hunger. Even mild dehydration can leave you tired and without energy. The best choice is water. Try different flavor combinations.
Get your sleep
The average American needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Being tired can lead to poor food choices.