Simple Tips to Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Going Overboard

Thanksgiving–the holiday that we all can’t wait for but also secretly dread. Every year we promise ourselves to watch what we eat during the holiday season, but when there’s loads of delicious food on the table, it’s not easy. Here are some simple tips that are achievable for anyone to help them enjoy Thanksgiving without going too overboard. 

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

1. Save leftovers ahead of time

Naturally, the food we eat at Thanksgiving is so delicious that we want to save every bite. Unfortunately, that may cause some of us to scarf down too much during dinner so no one else gets their paws on it! If you want leftovers, but not sure if there will be any, put aside some before you serve dinner. Knowing that there will still be creamy mashed potatoes in the fridge while they are going quickly on the table will help prevent you from fighting your brother for the last bite and eating over capacity.

2. Keep platters off the dining table

Consider this the “out of sight, out of mind” rule. Keeping all food platters in the kitchen away from the dining room table will prevent or delay you from getting additional servings. When we see food right in front of us, it’s easy to grab. Even after you have reached the point of being full, those biscuits may still be calling your name. But when dishes are left off the dining table, the only way you can go get them is interrupting conversation. Therefore, keeping platters in a different room will prevent you from being tempted because you’ll be engaged on your guest’s presence. If you are to keep dishes on the table, keep it to salads or roasted vegetables!

3. Pay attention to how many servings a recipe makes

With all the excitement of having delicious foods, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the amount of food you’re making—especially with those yummy mashed potatoes. Before you make a dish, pay attention to the number of servings the recipe makes and try to make just enough of the recipe for each person to get a serving, but not too much more.

4. Make the healthy stuff healthy!

What is Thanksgiving in most households without a green bean casserole? But if you paid attention to what are you really putting in that casserole, you’d realize most of it counteracts the benefits of consuming the nutritious green beans. When preparing vegetable dishes, try to keep them healthy by not adding starches, sauces, sugars, or too much salt. You can make excellent roasted asparagus, beets, and many other fall vegetables without adding too much salt if you use spices that compliment these vegetables well. In my biased opinion, fall salads are the most delicious of the seasons, so take advantage of them!

Here is a great list of healthier vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving:

5. Leave plenty of time between dinner and dessert

Of course, most of us want to eat dessert right after dinner, but doing so may make us overstuffed or uncomfortable. Lead a long, family activity between dinner and dessert that is away from the kitchen or dining table. This will prevent anyone from being tempted to eat, and allow them to rest between courses.

6. Take your time

One of the best ways to savor every bit is to take everyone nice and slowly. When you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day, scrubbing every inch of the house, or chasing the youngsters around the house, you might just want to scarf everything down, but try to slow down and take your plate bite by bite. Engaging in conversation and drinking plenty of water always helps to eat a meal slowly. You’ll be able to enjoy your meal for a longer amount of time and be more aware of when you’re full!

7. Watch your portions

Naturally, when we see umpteen dishes of delicious food on a table, we want to fill our plates with all of it. If you want it all, take little amounts of each so you can enjoy all of it without being too stuffed—then sit in pleasure when you remember that you have leftovers already in the fridge. (Remember: the USDA recommends that we fill ½ our plate with fruits and veggies, a little more than ¼ in whole grains, and a little less than ¼ in protein.)

Stay tuned for more specific holiday dining tips!

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