Thanksgiving tips to make sure you don’t wind up more stuffed than the turkey

ray lewis

There’s a social media link going around this week featuring a video of former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis doing an exaggerated dance back and forth as he took the field during pregame introductions.
The headline says: “How men walk in the kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner.”
That pretty much sums up the eating experience of Thanksgiving, although it could apply to many women as well. Americans love to splurge, and there’s nothing wrong with that once in a while.
However, there are ways to limit how badly you wreck your diet on Turkey Day. Here are eight tips to make sure you don’t wind up more stuffed than the turkey:
1. Exercise beforehand — Create a calorie deficit leading up to Thanksgiving by making sure to exercise before indulging.
Walk or run a little extra or spend more time in the gym.
Take a walk early in the day on Thanksgiving Day and then even after dinner.
2. Eat beforehand — Eat a small, but good breakfast and maybe even a healthy snack such as an apple before Thanksgiving dinner to help limit how much you’ll want to eat at the dinner.
3. Think of healthy side dishes — Limit the amount of sugar and fat in your recipes. An example might be to have a healthy green bean salad instead of a green bean casserole coated in a fatty crust.
You also might want to use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
4. Limit your portion sizes — Thanksgiving tables are works of art, displaying the best cooking and traditions a family has to offer.
It’s OK to want to try many things on the table, but limit your portion sizes. Think about what you really want to eat and maybe look to have things that you don’t get to eat most other times during the year.
5. Skip the second helping – Sit and talk and let your meal digest instead of immediately going back for seconds. Leftovers will make a great meal the next day.
6. Savor your meal — Take time to savor the meal by really tasting each mouthful. It’s OK to put your fork down. You don’t want to be eating so fast that you’re fork is throwing off sparks.
7. Limit alcohol intake — Calories from alcohol can add up quickly and imbibing can also lead to making poor food choices and overeating.
If you are going to drink alcohol, mix in glasses of water in between rounds to get a more full feeling and slow down on the spirits.
8. Focus on relationships — While Thanksgiving is known for the food, focus on the time you’ll get to spend with family and friends and cherish that as well.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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