How to Eat Smart on Thanksgiving

Nov 18 2015
Answer a few Qs, and you could win HG swag! We're creating some new HG supermarket food products, and we need your help. Please, please, please take this short poll... We'll be giving out HG measuring spoons, kitchen scales, and more to random survey takers. Click here now! Thank you!
Question@2x Dear Hungry Girl,

I love Thanksgiving, but I always overdo it. How can I get through the upcoming holiday without racking up a billion calories?

Trepidatious About Turkey Day
Answer@2x Hi Trepidatious,

I'm glad you asked about Thanksgiving, because it's a great time to embrace the Hungry Girl 80/20 philosophy. By mostly making smart choices but still indulging a little, you can enjoy the holiday without any regret. But that's not my only advice. Here are five more survival strategies for the most infamous food holiday of the year...

Avoid this super-common holiday-time mistake: Don't be a meal skipper! Eat breakfast, preferably one that's filled with fiber and protein. Have a light lunch as well. One of the biggest mistakes that people make the day of a big feast is to "save" all their calories for the main event. It might make sense in theory, but it hardly ever works out. If you skip your morning and/or afternoon meals, you'll probably feel famished by the time dinner hits the table, leaving you more likely to make poor food choices and overdo it on the portions. The end result? You take in more calories than if you had just eaten normally in the first place. Click here for some smart breakfast options, and check out these light-lunch ideas.

Increase your calorie budget with some extra exercise. Have the day off from work? That means more time to get your sweat on! Burning calories early in the day gives you more wiggle room in the calorie department later on, and without the restriction that comes along with skipping meals. It can also help you to resist that second slice of pie -- you didn't do all that hard work for nothing! Not super active, in general? Every little bit counts. Thanksgiving is a perfect day for Housewalking... Get the 411 on that here!

Dig into the (surprisingly plentiful) healthy options on the table. White-meat turkey (like breast meat) is a fantastic choice; it's low in calories, very filling, and so good with a spoonful of cranberry sauce on top! Also help yourself to a big serving of salad and lots of steamed or roasted veggies. (Roasted Brussels sprouts are a personal favorite at Thanksgiving!) Worried the salad will be doused in creamy dressing, or that the veggies will be a buttery mess? Contribute to the feast by preparing one of them yourself. Even if you don't bring your own dish, dressed salad and buttered veggies are still much better choices than a lot of the other options. But this doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of those seasonal favorites. Remember that 80/20 rule I mentioned? Here's how to put it into action. Fill the majority of your plate with the healthy stuff, and then treat yourself to small portions of the decadent dishes you look forward to all year. You won't overdo it on calories, and you won't feel deprived either. Go, you!

Wanna really indulge in some traditionally fattening Thanksgiving classics... without any guilt whatsoever? Whip up some of Hungry Girl's low-calorie swaps! There's an incredible recipe for cleaned-up cranberry sauce coming in tomorrow's email, and next Tuesday we're debuting our new-and-improved sweet potato casserole! And don't miss this Friday's email for a recipe roundup of our best Thanksgiving recipes.

Here's a fun bonus tip: Wear a form-fitting outfit that makes you feel great. You'll be less likely to overeat if doing so would cause you to pop a button on your favorite pants. Happy (almost) Turkey Day!

Chew on this:

Did you know we're eighteen days into National Peanut Butter Lovers Month? Click here to read all about powdered peanut butter, a game-changing food find!

All your health-conscious friends and family members would appreciate this Turkey Day advice... Click "Send to a Friend."

Have a Question for Hungry Girl?

Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).

Social

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.