Thanksgiving. A statutory holiday for belts. Dig out your stretchiest waistband and most flattering top. It's turkey time.
There are plenty of silly recipes out there for low-calories holiday meals. Let's face it. We only really give ourselves a free pass to eat to our heart's content a few times per year. And let me tell you, straight-up: Overeating at Thanksgiving dinner will not make you gain weight. Overeating at Christmas dinner will not make you gain weight. Overeating at every meal from Thanksgiving to January 1st will make you gain weight. Do we see the difference?
Chances are, you've got more than 1 or 2 big family meals in front of you over the next few months. Be mindful of what you are eating, and realize you do not need to have EVERY treat that comes your way. You are not a vaccuum cleaner. Choose the treats that you like best, and skip the ones that don't really do it for you.
It can be helpful to keep a food journal so you can keep tabs on yourself as you wade through the holiday months. Knowing approximately how much energy (calories) certain foods provide can help you understand what an appropriate portion might be, and which foods you can indulge in more with less effect on your bottom line. As in, your ass.
Now, for your ease, a sampling of holiday treats and their basic nutritional values.
Keep in mind, the average women needs to consume only about 2,000 calories to avoid health risks and maintain a healthy weight. Eat wisely!
- turkey (thigh with skin) - 493 calories, 27 g fat
- prepared stuffing (1/2 cup, dry) - 107 calories; 1 g fat
- mashed potatoes (1 cup, plain) - 186 calories; 3 g fat
- mashed sweet potatoes (1 cup, plain) - 249 calories; 0.5 g fat
- winter squash (1 cup, baked, plain) - 80 calories; 1 g fat
- whipped cream (1 cup) - 414 calories; 44 g fat
- pumpkin pie (1/8 pie, homemade) - 316 calories; 14 g fat
- turkey gravy (1/2 cup, canned) - 60 calories; 2.5 g fat
- butter (1 tablespoon) - 102 calories, 11.5 g fat
- white wine (5 oz glass) - 119 calories; 0 g fat
- red wine (5 oz glass) - 125 calories; 0 g fat
- beer (1 can) - 153 calories; 0 g fat
So, what to do... what to do? Well, you could just resign yourself to the fact that you are about to consume several thousand calories in one day and vow to work a little harder to make up for it. Or you can make a few quick substitutions:
- make a wine spritzer by adding equal parts white wine and soda water, garnished with lemon or lime
- choose bread OR potatoes... I know... but, really? Do you need a side of white with your white?
- stick with white meat from the bird and choose gravy instead of skin - not both! Who needs soggy, gravy-covered skin anyway?
- get some green vegetables into that spread and add fill-you-up fibre with peas, green beans, broccoli or spinach salad
- replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the mashed potatoes in your usual batch with steamed, mashed cauliflower to slash calories dramatically
- try plain yoghurt, chicken broth, low-fat milk or olive oil instead of the traditional butter and cream in your mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
- choose a scoop of ice cream if you must have a garnish with your pumpkin pie. It goes down more slowly than whipped cream and has tons fewer calories per 1/2 cup (plain vanilla ice cream usually contains about 150 calories per 1/2 cup, compared to 200 or more calories for whipped cream).