For as long as we can remember, the end of Halloween has signaled that it’s time to begin preparing for Thanksgiving. And every time single year, as soon as we start gearing up for Turkey Day, my sister and I can’t help but start craving our mom’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, her sweet potatoes, her apple pie and the rest of our holiday favorites.
Since we are registered dietitians and authors of The Secret To Skinny, people are often very interested in how we handle Thanksgiving. And it truly is hard to handle – there’s everything from dessert temptations to the nasty effects that holiday food can have on your digestive tract.
It’s no secret that you can do a lot of damage to your waistline during the long Thanksgiving Day weekend if you’re not careful. So here are the things that help us and our clients stay on track:
1. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of overdoing it at Thanksgiving dinner.
Skipping meals is a huge mistake! This backfires when you get to the meal feeling so ravenous that you can’t turn down any of the high calorie foods or drinks- whether you like them or not. Let’s face it, if you’re going to overeat, you want to try to do the least damage that you can and save it for the foods you love!
2. Start with a well-rounded breakfast.
Start your morning right with a good meal. Make sure to include fiber to fill your stomach and protein to help to stay satisfied. Think: oatmeal and a hard-boiled egg or whole grain toast with an apple & a nonfat Greek yogurt.
3. Exercise in the morning before the festivities start.
Whether you go to the gym or exercise outside, you will feel better all day. It helps us to stay on the healthy track. Plus, it never hurts anyone to burn a few extra calories.
4. Wear fitted clothes and snug belts to keep from overeating.
This works beautifully, just don’t loosen your belt or unbutton your pants.
5. Keep sugar-free gum handy.
We chew a piece when we’ve had plenty but still are craving – it distracts our taste buds and saves hundreds of calories. New research reveals that gum chewers are leaner, plus it gives you fresh breath. (Lyssie goes for Sweet Mint; Tammy opts for White Bubblemint)
6. We request that our mom has plenty of veggies for us to fill our plate with – and she knows we mean business.
She’s been warned, it’s always best to have too many veggies than not enough. And for any of you who plan to invite us over in the future, you’ve been warned. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower and spinach all work for us. If you are a guest and want to bring something delicious and guilt-free for your host, (so that you also have something to fill up on too), bring our Skinny Mash [see recipe below])
7. Make veggie sides rather than casseroles and instantly save 100-400 calories.
Steam carrots or green beans or blend a butternut or acorn squash. Casseroles are often filled with creamy, cheesy or high fat ingredients, so choose fresh vegetables over high calorie side dishes and flavor with delicious spices–try Herbs de Provence (savory and rich tasting).
8. Substitute with seltzer.
A mixed drink will set you back 250 calories while a 5-ounce glass of wine will cost you 120 calories. We prefer to use our calories on food. If alcohol is your thing, wine is clearly the calorie saving option. Make yours bubbly like a wine spritzer by adding seltzer to thin out the calories even more.
9. Carry Senokot Tablets.
Despite doing our best to get plenty of veggies, exercise and drink water, holiday stress is hard to avoid. Maybe it’s the traveling, the lifestyle changes, dietary habits or family issues, we can all experience occasional constipation. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We keep Senokot® Tablets on-hand – they contain a natural vegetable laxative ingredient and work gently to provide overnight relief from occasional constipation. For those of us traveling this holiday, Senokot To-Go® is the perfect, easy-to-carry alternative that contains the same Senokot® Tablets in a small pack of four.
10. Try alternative recipes.
For example, we use the recipe below in place of mashed potatoes to keep the calories in check. You can lighten up Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with this yummy recipe as well.
The Nutrition Twins Skinny Cauliflower Mash (excerpted from The Secret To Skinny)
Swap this delicious side dish for mash potatoes–you’ll trick even the biggest mashed potato fans (we promise!) and save yourself hundreds of calories!
- 1 Head of cauliflower
- 1/8 Cup skim milk
- 2 Cloves garlic, chopped
- Pepper, to taste
- Butter spray (10 sprays)
Steam cauliflower until tender when poked with a fork. Place cauliflower (pieces), skim milk, garlic, and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Place mixture in a small baking dish and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees in oven until bubbly.
(Makes 3 servings.)
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Total Fat 0.6 gram
Saturated Fat 0.1 gram
Carbohydrates 5.7 grams
Protein 2.7 grams
Sodium 34.2 milligrams
As members of the Purdue Products Constipation Crew™ we try help folks deal with the occasional constipation that can result from holiday stress, traveling, and the changes in diet and lifestyle.