Doctorate Housewife

What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…

My Thanksgiving Day Plate

There’s been a lot of talk about the best way to make up a plate. There’s the government version:

And the Harvard School of Public Health version (for a comparison check out my plate vs my plate):

There’s even a collection of different Paleo plates:

We can debate the virtues of the various plates (my vote is for Harvard’s one btw) along with the pros and cons of the The gluten free fad, but that’s for another day. Today is all about the Thanksgiving plate, which if you’re not careful can easily add up to more than 1600 calories: turkey, mashed potatoes, melt-in-your-mouth rolls, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole… and don’t forget at least 2 kinds of pie and ice-cream!

Thanksgiving marks the official start to the Christmas season and the first of a long list of over indulgent meals. As I’m sure you’ve read about a million times already, the average American gains 5lbs over the holiday season. I’ve read loads of articles about staying fit this holiday season and since we’re only hours away from the big meal, I thought I’d share some of them with you.

My Favourite Holiday Food Tips:

  1. Avoid cooking calories: snacking as you chop can be deadly. Those little tastes can easily add up and spoil your dinner (and your calorie count) before your guests even arrive. So…
    1. Eat before you cook – a healthy balanced meal before you start putting together mom’s best apple pie can make sneaking a bite less tempting
    2. Leave a healthy snack on the counter – have something else in arms reach for when you get tempted. Carrots, grapes, or cherry tomatoes make great options
    3. Keep sipping – along with the healthy snacks, water or tea can help keep your mouth occupied while you chop the chocolate and stir the bacon. And staying hydrated can help keep you from overeating later.
  2. Don’t be overwhelmed by the variety: Variety is great if you’re trying to get in more fruits and veg, but deadly if you’re trying to avoid the higher calorie treats. Trying one of everything is trouble when there are 7 side dishes and 6 pies. So…
    1. Mingle before you dig in – Instead of jumping right into the buffet or diving into Grandma’s candy jar (bless her, my gram always kept one by her front door), say hello to everybody first. Then grab a calorie-free (or light) drink to keep you occupied until it’s time for dinner.
    2. Check out the whole spread before you begin – Information makes it easier to decide what you really want. For me, I might be willing to pass up the roll if I know there’s an awesome looking stuffing further down the table. And I’m more willing to skip that second tab of butter if I know I’m saving room for the caramel apple pie.
    3. Put everything on a plate – This helps keep track of what you’ve had. The little bites add up quickly and unfortunately that broken cookie really does count (even though the calories are supposed to fall out when it breaks =p)
  3. Slow down and savour: A lot of this stuff you only get once a year and I know that makes me want to scarf it down and fill my plate a second time, but I’m trying to remember that I’ll enjoy it more if I slow down, savour each bite, and let myself be content with one serving. Which brings me to my last and favourite tip…
  4. NO SECONDS: Fill your plate once and only once. You get to enjoy the things you love without over doing it. You might want that second helping now, but trust me you’ll feel better later if you don’t. If you skip the second helping of stuffing, you’ll really get to enjoy the apple pie. If you don’t, you might be too full and uncomfortable to really appreciate it. No seconds was my August healthy living goal (see link to “no seconds”) and something that I’ve been trying to make a real habit. It has it’s ups and downs, but slowly the moral muscle is getting stronger.

Now go enjoy!!!! Happy Thanksgiving Everybody =)

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This entry was posted on November 22, 2012 by in Nutrition and tagged , , , , .

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