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Healthy Living Blog

Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Brings Flavor to Your Table

November 08, 2017 | Nickie Kaetzel RDN, LD


thanksgiving-dinner.jpgThe holidays can be especially challenging if you’re watching your weight. Thanksgiving Day dinner is the first of many gatherings with family and friends that focus on eating. Simple calorie-cutting strategies can be an effective way to jumpstart weight loss when time for exercise seems to run short.

This appropriately portioned and healthy Thanksgiving dinner can help you stick with a weight loss or weight maintenance goal around the holidays while still enjoying your food. This meal contains about 500 calories, which is appropriate for most people for a holiday meal. With approximately 60 grams of carbohydrate, this is also a diabetic-friendly meal for most people.

Appropriately Portioned Thanksgiving Dinner

*Calorie information was obtained through the online USDA Nutrient Database accessed on Sept. 20, 2016.

Please Note: Recipes are provided for the green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, whole-wheat dinner rolls and pumpkin pie bites below.

Bean Cass.jpg Get the recipe for Green Bean Casserole
SWP Cass.jpg Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole
WW Rolls.jpg Get the recipe for Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls
Pump Pie Bites.jpg Get the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bites

Tips for estimating portion sizes for this meal:

  • 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards
  • 1/2 cup of vegetables is about the size of a light bulb
  • 1 tablespoon is about the size of a poker chip or your thumb

Other Tips:

  • Use a 9-inch plate for your Thanksgiving dinner. Studies show that the smaller the plate you use the less total calories you’ll serve yourself.
  • Eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch to help you from overeating Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Try to get in some activity such as taking a walk after the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Choose beverages carefully. Liquid calories add up quickly. Try to stick with plain water or sparkling water.
  • Instead of a typical slice of pumpkin pie try a mini pumpkin pie bite with the recipe below and save yourself 200 calories. These are also the perfect size desserts for children!
  • Fill up on vegetables first, then protein, followed by starches and other carbohydrates.
  • Skip the seconds. You are less likely to overeat, and remember you can have leftovers the next day!

Instead of making food the main focus on holidays, make family time more important. Talk, play cards, take a walk or watch a movie together. When you do eat be mindful of what you are eating and take time to enjoy it. 

Maintaining or losing weight during the holidays can be difficult. Find a weight management program that works for you and make an appointment with one of our physicians today.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

*This article originally appeared in Discover Norwalk.

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