For most Americans, Thanksgiving without turkey is like the Fourth of July without fireworks. That’s why it’s important not to deprive yourself during holiday meals. The holidays are full of temptations and an occasional treat is fine as long as you make sure to keep short- and long-term health goals in mind.
Your weight-loss efforts can absolutely stay on track this Thanksgiving holiday by following simple tips from Weight Watchers that allow you to enjoy yourself.
1. Slow Down for Satisfaction.
When sitting down to the Thanksgiving feast, select foods you don’t normally eat so that you can easily eliminate several of the dishes. Do you really need both sweet potatoes topped with melted marshmallows and mashed potatoes? Take small portions, eat slowly and savor every bite. Sit back, take a break and if you’re still hungry continue. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full.
2. Plan to indulge.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by depriving yourself of the special foods that are prepared and served only on Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s Aunt Martha’s candied yams, Mom’s apple pie or your sister-in-law’s pumpkin cheesecake. Savor the special dishes instead of mindlessly popping cheddar cheese cubes into your mouth before the meal. Decide how much of that favorite food will satisfy you. If you cannot conceive of eating just a small piece of pie, cut something else out to account for the larger slice.
3. Don’t starve yourself beforehand.
You’ll be more likely to gobble up everything in sight. Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and lunch, and consider a snack before heading to the Thanksgiving celebration to take the edge off your hunger.
4. Be creative.
Practice saying “no” in case you get pressured by well-meaning relatives to eat something you haven’t planned for or don’t want to eat. Try something like, “Thanks, but I’ll have to pass on that pumpkin pie right now because I’m so full from your delicious dinner.”
5. Drink Moderately.
Alcohol adds empty calories and can make you lose sight of your goals. To reduce your alcohol intake, use low- or no-calorie beverages as mixers and alternate alcoholic beverages with low-calorie soft drinks or water.
6. Bag it.
If you’re hosting the meal, remember that there is always tomorrow — and leftovers. But if you won’t be able to sleep knowing that there’s half a pie in the kitchen, freeze leftovers immediately or wrap portions for your guests to take home.
7. Lighten it up.
Whether you are the host or just bringing a dish to someone else’s home, lighten up those favorite dishes. No one will know the difference. See the lighter version of a Thanksgiving classic sidebar.
8. Get moving.
There are more ways to spend time with family on Thanksgiving than just sitting around eating. Why not go for a walk after supper or get a game of touch football going in the afternoon?
9. Be thankful for making good choices.
Changing eating behavior and old habits take time. But starting the holiday season off mindful of moderation can be the key to a healthier season.
10. Control emotional eating.
The holidays and stress go hand in hand. Find ways to relax and focus on you overall goals. Exercise daily and make Thanksgiving a day more about family and friends than food. You’ll be thankful you did.
info: You can visit a Weight Watchers meeting for free this holiday season for additional support. To find a meeting location near you visit www.weightwatchers.com or call 800-651-6000.
Guiltless Pumpkin Classic
Want to indulge? Enjoy with this healthy take on a holiday classic — pumpkin pie!
Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust from Weightwatchers.com
Points Value: 3
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 65 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
3 ounces reduced-fat cinnamon graham crackers, about 5-1/2 sheets
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or less to taste
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
4 tablespoons light whipped topping
1. Position rack in middle of oven.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place graham crackers and light brown sugar in a food processor and process into crumbs (or smash into crumbs in a sealed plastic food bag with a rolling pin). Spoon crumbs into a small bowl; add melted butter and combine with fingers into a coarse meal. Distribute crumbs evenly on bottom and up sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes before baking. Bake until crust starts to turn golden, about 8 to 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy; fold in egg, dark brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and evaporated milk. Beat pumpkin custard until smooth and pour into pie shell. Bake until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes. Slice into eight pieces, top each piece with 1/2 tablespoon of whipped topping and serve warm or at room temperature. Yields one slice per serving.