10 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner
1. Drink a glass of water before dinner or a party. This helps cut back on hunger.
2. Don’t skip a meal before eating dinner, in preparation for “The Big Meal.” Eat a normal breakfast and lunch, so you’re less likely to be famished for dinner and more likely to stick with healthful amounts.
3. Use a smaller plate, and put your fork down between bites.
4. If the holiday dinner is family style, enjoy a serving of what’s on the table, then remove your plate to also remove the temptation for seconds … or thirds.
5. If there is a buffet or hors d’oeuvre table, bring your own healthy dish to share. Have a small plate of healthy stuff – fruits, crudités, goat cheese. Pass on breads, chips and other addictive, salty/sweet calories. Go for dips like hummus or tapenade.
6. Recall happy holiday food memories while knowing you don’t have to repeat experiences of overindulging or overeating because you attach a pleasant memory to holiday meals. Tell a story at the dinner table instead of reliving the experience of overindulgence.
7. Decide in advance what your sweet indulgence will be and stick with it. For example: “I love pumpkin pie, so I’m going to have a slice” – instead of being faced with a smorgasbord of pie, cake, brownies, cookies, etc., and then bingeing on all of them. Enjoy a smaller slice that will still satisfy your desire for the taste.
8. Alcoholic drinks are empty calories. Limit yourself to a glass so that you can choose another indulgence instead.
9. Lead by example. Families and friends sometimes overindulge at holidays because “everyone’s doing it” or “what the heck, it’s Thanksgiving!” Show your loved ones that you’re serious about healthful eating by limiting your amounts and sticking to your guns. They may then be less likely to try to cajole you into unhealthy overindulgence – and may even cut back themselves.
10. Give food away. If you’re the host and find yourself left with too many sweets or other foods, have takeaway bags or containers handy so that you can portion them out to guests. If your guests decline the doggie bags, share leftover food with a local shelter. If you’re visiting relatives or friends, opt to take home turkey instead of cookies or pie.