10 Thanksgiving Survival Strategies (for your diet!)

  • 2 Minutes Read

Dieters usually dread the high calorie holidays. Here are 10 ideas for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner without sabotaging your diet.

10 Thanksgiving Survival Strategies (for your diet!)

Sometimes a dieter's gotta do what a dieter's gotta do. And Thanksgiving may be the perfect time. You've been plugging away for months, sticking to your lower calorie plan, losing weight. Then suddenly you're faced with an onslaught of delicious, high calorie, once-a-year food.

You can get through this with your diet and your good intentions intact. Here are 10 ideas, some of which may seem weird, but all of them can help you at least control your calorie intake on Thanksgiving.

1. Your mantra: It's one day and one meal. Nothing is stopping you from getting back on track the next day.

2. Thanksgiving is about traditional and (hopefully) delicious food. Enjoy it. Don't sit at the table silently obsessing about calories. And never turn the conversation to dieting.

3. Don't give in to pressure from other people to take bigger portions, or second helpings.
a. No one else needs an explanation of why you don't want bigger portions or a second helping. Just say "No Thanks."

4. It's not necessary to clean your plate, especially if something isn't that great. If Aunt Susie's green bean casserole just isn't hitting the spot, you are under no obligation to eat it anyway.

5. Be picky. Mashed potatoes? Can't you eat those anytime? Cheese and cracker appetizers? Chips and dip? Aren't those around all year?

6. Beware diet saboteurs! Other people may not be so supportive of your diet efforts. They may even be envious. If those are the same people putting food on your plate, you may be faced with enormous portions. Re-read #4. Then review #3 above.

7. Pie is a delicious Thanksgiving tradition. You have 5 options:

  1. Don't eat any pie
  2. Have a very small piece (or pieces)
  3. Stick to really special homemade pies, not some bland store-bought pie.
  4. Avoid whipped cream on your small piece(s)
  5. Just eat the filling, not the crust.

8. Watch the alcohol intake. From cocktails to craft beer to wine, it can be too easy to refill your glass in a holiday atmosphere. You end up drinking hundreds of excess calories.
a. That goes for non-alcoholic drinks too. Cider, eggnog, juice and milk all add calories. Drink water.

9. Start the day with a small high protein breakfast to help tide you over until dinner.

10.Exercise! You've got all day to include physical activities. There are plenty of options, from your usual walk or job, to a group activity such as a hike or bike ride, to a brisk game of touch football. If you live in a snowy area, winter sports like sledding, skiing and ice skating are great Thanksgiving activities.

But what if you do give in and eat too much? One day of excess isn't going to cause you to gain 5 lbs, of fat, despite what you may have heard. You would have to eat 17,500 extra calories on one day to gain 5 lbs. That's like eating the entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself. Even if you could do that, it's not likely your digestive system could process and absorb that much food in one day.

On Friday morning, if your scale says you gained a couple of pounds, most of that will be due to temporary fluid shifts. Just get back on track. And keep this list handy. The December holiday food season is straight ahead.

Holidays / Parties->Thanksgiving
Nov 25, 2014
Donna P Feldman MS RDN is author of Food Wisdom for Women and "Feed Your Vegetarian Teen". She writes about food and nutrition at Radio Nutrition.

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