4 Steps to Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Feast Without Too Many Calories

Published by FitWatch

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner can easily contain 1,500 calories or more (that’s just one person’s plate; not the entire table). But there are plenty of ways to cut down the amount of calories in your holiday feast without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment.

Below are some easy ways to do that:

#1 - Veggies first

Start by filling half of your plate with vegetables.  Choose the ones without creamy sauces or sweeteners.  Green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, corn, carrots and raw salad are great starters.

The next quarter of your plate can be filled with protein like turkey or fish.  The last quarter of the plate can contain small portions of the richer, more fattening foods like stuffing, yams with marshmallow, mashed potatoes, and the like.  You can add a small amount of gravy to taste if you like, but avoid pouring it on too heavily.

Check out this printable visual of how to portion out your plate:  Portion Plate.

By the way, this is the same kind of worksheet used in my online nutrition coaching program.  Learn more about online nutrition coaching.

#2- Fill up on healthy foods before anything else

When you start eating, begin with the vegetables that fill half of your plate.  Once those are gone, then move on to the richer foods.  This helps you feel full and satisfied before you begin eating the high calorie foods.

#3- Keep sipping water

If possible, drink a glass of water before sitting down for your meal, and then keep sipping more water as you eat.  It definitely helps you feel fuller, which means you’ll eat less than you otherwise would.

See: Water: The Drink of Choice with Any Diet

#4 - Take your time

Eat slowly, chewing eat bite completely.  Enjoy the rich flavor of each food, and pause between bites for a few moments.  Enjoy the company of the people you’re eating with.  Have fun, laugh, swap entertaining stories - it’s not all about the food.

See: You Need to Slow Down to Lose Weight

Bonus Tip:

#5 - Use Hand-Size Portions

You don't have to pile on a plate full of everything.  Stick to normal portions, make sure you eat enough protein, go low on starchy carbs and add and a bit of fat

For men:
  • 2 palms of protein dense foods;
  • 2 fists of vegetables;
  • 2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods;
  • 2 thumbs of fat dense foods.

For women:
  • 1 palm of protein dense foods;
  • 1 fist of vegetables;
  • 1 cupped handful of carb dense foods;
  • 1 thumb of fat dense foods.

Download and print the guide here:  Hand-Sized Portion Guide.

Following these simple steps should help you keep your overall calorie intake lower than you normally would - and you’ll still have room to enjoy a small dessert afterward.

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