Thanksgiving is upon us and so are literally pounds of extra calories. “Stuff your turkey, not yourself” advises the Calorie Control Council. And, stuff we do on the big eating day… to the tune of possibly 4,500 calories, 45% fat related! Wow! That’s about 5 times more than we consume on any other day! Even if we cut out the 1,500 for snacks and drinks, we’re still consuming a 3,000 calorie meal. Thinking you may want to go easy on the gravy and other weighty calories this Thanksgiving? We’re here to help. Yes, you can still enjoy the big feast and eat sensibly too! Read more from Calorie Control Council, the industry group for diet food companies.
The number of calories we actually need depends on several factors. These include age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall general health. Most men need about 2,000 calories a day, and most women need about 1,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight according to Medical News Today. But, wait a minute! Mary Ellen Herndon, MPH, RD, wellness dietitian at MD Anderson disputes these figures suggesting they are too high, even for one special day. She states, “overeating can lead to unhealthy weight gain.” “In the long-run, it may make it harder for your body to fight off diseases like cancer,” Herndon cautions.
Feast on these tips…
- Reduce fat and calorie intake days before and after the holiday feast.
- Strategize how to handle avoiding your worst temptations. Want the both pecan and pumpkin pie? Do it, just take a sliver of each.
- Cook with low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish.
- After the meal, start a tradition — a holiday walk, for instance.
We can do this! Strive for a Thanksgiving meal that amounts to about one-third of our daily calories, even on that special day. The key is strategy! “Being mindful of the amount you put on your plate can help you avoid unwanted calories at mealtime,” says Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietician in Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson. She advises, “Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables.” Avoid extra unwanted pounds by preparing yourself now. Maybe, you’ll even want to refer back to it before you sit down to the big meal! Remember to add up all your selections to stay in your target calorie range.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and enjoy healthier food options where you can.