On Thanksgiving, the turkey isn’t the only one getting stuffed. According to the Calorie Control Council, approximately 4,500 calories are consumed at Thanksgiving dinner. That’s about 2.5 times the average intake for a woman and twice what a man should consume in a single day. Overeating that much food in a single meal (or day) triggers hormones that put us to sleep.
A traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings is about 3,000 calories—unless you are using a Paula Dean recipe! All kidding aside, with all the appetizers, wine, drinks and other cocktails consumed, it’s easy to reach 4,500 calories. No wonder we enter a tryptophan induced nap after we eat!
To some, Thanksgiving kicks off a holiday season of eating and drinking leading to a 5-10-pound weight gain for the New Year. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are seven tricks to help you reduce your calorie intake this Thanksgiving.
- Forget the Paula Dean cookbook. Rich in butter and fat, your heart and arteries will not appreciate the over-indulgence of butter in every side dish.
- Roast instead of fry. Fried turkey is quite popular these days. Fried anything means unwanted extra calories and saturated fat. Turkey by itself is lean when roasted properly. Four ounces of roasted turkey (without the skin) is only 190 calories.
- Skip the rolls and butter. A Crescent roll is 100 calories. One tablespoon of butter adds another 102 calories. You can eat rolls and butter any day. Enjoy the wonderful side dishes that are served and save yourself about 200 calories by not eating the rolls and butter.
- Get out and walk, ride your bike and toss around a football before or after dinner. In other words, get a little exercise. Move more. Burn off some calories.
- Eat just one dessert. A slice of pumpkin pie (without whipped cream) is 323 calories. A piece of pecan pie is 456. Do you really need to eat both slices in the same day? Savor one or the other. Ask for a take-home box.
- Average your calorie intake over the week. The average woman consumes about 14,000 calories in one week; a man consumes 16,800. Knowing that Thanksgiving Day is a big family feast, consider lowering your daily calorie intake by 300-400 calories for the other 6 days of the holiday week to help you curb your overall calorie intake.
- Rev up your fitness schedule. Add a couple hours of cardio during the week. Some cardio-strength workouts can burn up to 850 calories. Adding a couple of strong workouts will help you can enjoy the food you want to eat.
The bottom line is that the holiday season is here. Enjoy yourself. Eat moderately. There will be festivities with food and drink—and lots of it! Make smart diet and exercise choices today and every day so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving meal guilt-free.
Wondering how your holiday favorites stack up, here’s a popular holiday dishes calorie counter that we found here.