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Tips to Prevent Overindulging on Thanksgiving Day

Registered Dietitian Bob Carrara offers suggestions on cutting back on unwanted calories and fat.

It’s no secret that many Americans tend to overindulge on Thanksgiving Day.

The average adult will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving, according to the Caloric Control Council. That’s more than twice the amount of calories and triple the amount of fat most of need in a 24-hour period.

There are ways to enjoy a traditional meal without ruining your diet plans. Registered Dietitian Bob Carrara with Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s Diabetes Care Center has some simple suggestions to trim the fat.

Carrara says to stick with white meat turkey instead of dark, and when possible, swap out a healthier version of a traditional side dish. Some suggestions include making baked sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole, and making cauliflower mash instead of traditional mashed potatoes.

“Taking a look at some of the traditional recipes are and seeing if there’s a way you can make them lower fat or less sugar,” Carrara said. “Those are going to be the main ingredients that are going to be problems.”

Carrara also suggests eating a normal breakfast, lunch and even a healthy snack before digging into the hearty Thanksgiving meal.

“Don’t skip breakfast and lunch with the idea that I’m going to go gangbusters at Thanksgiving,” he said. “Eating a salad before the Thanksgiving meal, drinking water prior to the Thanksgiving meal, trying to eat more slowly,” he suggests.

If alcohol is offered, Carrara says to keep it to one or less drinks to avoid empty calories and reduced inhibitions.

“Anytime you’re drinking alcohol to the point you’re lowering your inhibitions you’re going to be less conscious with the amount of food you’re eating,” he said.

When it comes to dessert, there aren’t really any “healthy” options, but when asked, Carrara said pumpkin pie would be the best bet. Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A and boasts other health benefits.

“At least you’re getting some nutritional value with your fat and sugar,” he said.

What are your tips to prevent overindulging on Thanksgiving Day? Share them in the comments section. 

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