Lighten Up Thanksgiving Dinner with These Nutritionist Tips

lighten up Thanksgiving dinnerWith Thanksgiving – and, more importantly, Thanksgiving dinner – right on top of us, it’s easy to think that all the progress you’ve made toward your weight loss is doomed. After all, nearly all of us have experienced this struggle year after year for about as long as we can remember. But is this truly the case? Are we destined for setbacks every year, no matter our good intentions?

After all, there are many different courses, recipes, desserts that will be offered to you and every one of them is absolutely delicious. Is it possible to enjoy your meal without finding yourself heavier by the end of it? Not according to some top nutrition and health experts.

The key isn’t to give up everything you love or to give up altogether. Instead, it is to be smart about the choices you make. Instead of mindlessly heaping on mounds of every offering, make mindful selections.

Former American Dietetic Association president, Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, offered some helpful advice for enjoying Thanksgiving without falling victim to its unhealthier side. They included:

• Eat before dinner – Before going to a big Thanksgiving dinner, enjoy a nutritious meal packed with lean protein and fiber. This will help you to keep up your energy levels while suppressing your appetite in a lasting way. This will help to save you from falling victim to hunger pangs once dinnertime rolls around. When you’re not as hungry, it’s easier to think about what you’re doing and to make smarter food and beverage choices.

• Tinker with recipes – Scaling back on unnecessary sugars and fats can help you to make the same tasty meals without sacrificing flavor. “There is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie ingredients,” said Diekman.

Current American Council on Fitness and Nutrition chair, Susan Finn, PhD, RD, also had some lighter Thanksgiving advice to offer. These have to do with your mindset over the holidays:

• Focus on family and friends – Finn advises that we remember that the point to these holidays is to enjoy time with the people who mean the most of us. By concentrating on quality time with others, it’s easier to remember that food is only a side benefit of the celebration.

• Maintain weight instead of losing it
– Instead of being hard on yourself for failing to lose weight, be more realistic about what the holidays are all about by focusing on weight gain prevention. Place your weight loss goals on hold and focus on weight maintenance instead. “You will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any weight over the holidays,” said Finn.

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