Enjoy a Guilt-Free Dinner this Thanksgiving

November 23, 2013

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year comes what many equally fear as they do anticipate, and that’s a seemingly endless feast of dangerously delicious foods. Thanksgiving dinner can be a major trigger for over-consumption; the average American consumes 4,500 calories on this day alone! Kayla Little, RD, LD, CpT and Wellness Director at FitRx, offers up some helpful tricks to get you through the Thanksgiving feast without completely overindulging or feeling deprived.

1. Get moving.

During Thanksgiving week, participate in an annual Turkey Day 5K. Most cities or communities host a race, and it’s fun for the whole family. Before dinner, go for a walk or jog with a buddy. Also, an after-dinner walk or activity—Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, Twister or just throwing around the football—are great ways to lower your blood sugar and increase digestion. Just make sure to let your stomach rest, then do anything you can to get yourself moving.

2. Eat breakfast.

Starving yourself the day before and morning of Thanksgiving can lead to binging or eating too quickly before dismissing your brain’s signals to stop eating once you’re full. On Thanksgiving Day, wake up and eat a balanced breakfast of fruits and protein (i.e. egg whites, raw nuts, fresh berries and steel-cut oatmeal) so as not to trick yourself into thinking you can go overboard later in the day.

3. Choose a smaller plate.

Your dinner plate should be maximum 9 inches in diameter; anything larger encourages heaping on the helping. Also, set more boundaries by confining the amount of food within the plate’s inner ring.

4. Keep it simple.

As impossible as it may sound, limiting yourself to one plate of food will not only help you be more mindful of the dishes you choose, but it will also make your meal that much more special and long-lasting. Try your best not to graze or back for seconds. Truly appreciate and savor every bite.

5. Practice portion control.

Choose larger portions of root vegetables, squashes and beans, such as green beans, spaghetti squash and dark green leafy salads. Choose smaller portions of high-refined carbohydrate and high-fat items, such as creamy dressings, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams and pasta dishes.

6. “No skin, please!”

Remove the skin from your turkey, chicken and duck to decrease saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.

7. Stick to a dessert strategy.

Either have one piece of your favorite dessert or small servings of a variety of desserts. Pumpkin pie is one of the best choices, because it’s lowest in calories and has higher nutrition quality.

8. Avoid processed foods.

As much as possible, prepare and eat foods from scratch verses commercially-produced and boxed foods. This way, you’ll avoid many unnecessary additives and preservatives.

9. Drink plenty of water.

By staying hydrated before, during and after the meal, you’ll decease calories and feel full faster. And for every non-H2O beverage, drink a glass of water, too.

10. When in doubt, throw it out.

Food sitting out for more than two hours can create harmful food-borne illnesses. Thanksgiving leftovers may be delicious, but if you’re worried about overindulging during the actual meal, you’ll be thankful in the end if you destroy the evidence ASAP. Make the meal even more purposeful by setting food aside to take to a homeless shelter with your family, or giving leftovers to anyone in need.

What are your guilt-free Thanksgiving tips?

Start The Admissions Process Now


Your 1-on-1 consultation and Insurance Verification are 100% Free


All you have to do is pick up the phone and call or chat now


We will never share your information with a third party without your explicit consent

Call Now (888) 966-8152