Gobble less and thank more this Thanksgiving

Daily Sundial

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It is that time of the year again, when we gather with friends and family to give thanks and in some cases eat to our hearts content. The holiday season can also be challenging if you are trying to watch your waistline, but by following these simple guidelines you can stay healthy and not feel deprived. You can still enjoy all the tasty food while watching your figure.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving has always been the “kickoff” to a holiday season filled with pumpkin pie, fruit cakes, glazed hams and turkey. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving and the holiday season is also the time of year when, according to HealthCastle.com, most adults gain an average of five to 10 pounds. Even more shocking, HealthCastle.com also estimates that an average Thanksgiving dinner alone, has over 2,000 calories. Fortunately, there are several ways to enjoy the festivities without overeating.

For starters, make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast or lunch during the day, before the big Thanksgiving meal. Many people, including myself, opt to skip eating anything on turkey day to prepare for the array of food they will eat during the feast. It is however, important to remember that Thanksgiving is not an all you can eat buffet, and as studies have shown, we tend to eat faster and more food when we are hungry.

This Thanksgiving, try passing on the soda, and drink some water. This may sound boring, but aside from water having ZERO calories, it can also help fill you up when you start thinking about seconds.

If you do decide to have a second go-around, instead of taking another helping of stuffing or mash potatoes and gravy, try eating some of the healthier foods, such as squash, green beans, salad or cranberry sauce. These Thanksgiving side dishes offer a variety of proteins and vitamins and even less calories.

Now, one the greatest challenges of holiday get-togethers, is dealing with the insistent “pusher,” as I like to call them. Almost everyone knows a “pusher” whether a family member or friend, who each year rallies and pushes for you to eat more. Getting away from a “pusher” can be tricky, but stand your ground, be polite and let them know you are full. If you are hungry late, then you might eat more.

Another challenge sometimes can be seeing an array of food on the table. The display of food can entice you to want to eat more, even if you are no longer feeling hungry. Once you feel you have reached your limit, excuse yourself from the table, so you are not tempted to overeat.

Considering that most Thanksgiving dinners, usually begin early, either before or once dinner is finished and you have had time to digest, engage in some sort of physical activity. Since, this is the time of the year when most family and friends visit or come home for the holidays, gathering everyone for a friendly game of football or basketball will not only help you burn off some calories, but keep everyone entertained.

Not feeling very athletic? Then, take a walk around the neighborhood, each year many people begin hanging up holiday lights early, before Thanksgiving.

By following these tips this holiday season you can stay healthy and possibly avoid gaining some unwanted weight. After all, it is important to remember that Thanksgiving, as well as the holiday season, are about spending time and sharing memories with your loved ones. Although, food plays a deliciously integral part in the festivities, you do not have to overeat to share in the holiday spirit.

Renee Hassija can be reached at spotlight.sundial@csun.edu.