11 Tips to Survive Thanksgiving

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Not the one cooking on Turkey Day? You can still control your gastronomic destiny. Here are some easy tips to stay on track:

1. Survey the spread before you fill your plate. Confronted by so many rich foods, you might want to start piling up the food, but stop and take a deep breath. Think before you serve yourself (and try to serve yourself, so you control the serving size).

2. Use a smaller plate, or commit to just one round of food. Don't pile your food so high that's it's falling off the plate.

3. Be choosy, and stick to proper serving sizes. Take only those foods you really like, and don't overload on them.

4. Divide your plate. Half of your plate should be vegetables (salad, cranberry relish, your slimmed-down green bean casserole), one quarter should be protein (turkey) and one quarter should be starches (potatoes and stuffing).

5. Use a knife and fork to cut one bite at a time. By using both utensils, you'll have to slow down between bites. Don't cut all your food at once. Not only is it technically in poor taste to do so, having precut food makes eating quickly much easier.

6. Pass on the bread. With all the other starches on the table, Thanksgiving is a day when bread isn't necessary.

7. Buddy up. If you're worried about eating too many sweets, share your dessert with someone else. You'll eat less and not do as much damage.

8. Have dessert, but don't go overboard. It's Thanksgiving, a day to indulge. You've earned the right to a few bites of pumpkin, pecan or cherry pie. If you want to try more than one dessert, cut the tiniest slivers possible.

9. Drink water. Bypass caloric beverages like soda, cider, and eggnog for water. If you want to indulge in a cocktail, wait until after dinner. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so you're more likely to overeat when you drink.

10. Don't graze. When you're done eating, move away from the table or at least clear your plate. By all means, don't hang out at the buffet table. All that food is just screaming to be eaten!

11. Relax. Thanksgiving is only one day of the year. If you overdo it (and many of us will), rest easy knowing you can start over tomorrow!

If you're doing the cooking this year, check out my SparkPeople article about how to cut fat and calories from your Thanksgiving meal.

How do you stay on track on Thanksgiving? Do you have any fears or anxiety about facing such copious amounts of food?

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These ideas are great for any function or family meal, will be using them for Christmas because I don't celebrate Thanksgiving. I have the same problem with my Mum offering and offering, any tips for stopping this ? Thanks for these tips though, they're great. Report
I did good. Report
Great info, thanks for sharing. Report
The tips are excellent~ I usually do those things because they work. Thank you for putting it in one article. It took me a while to get all that info together and here you have done it.
I made a sugar-free crustless pumpkin pie to keep the calories under control, and the sides are South Beach friendly so I hope we won't do too much damage....Happy Thanksgiving to all! Report
"Thanksgiving is a day when bread isn't necesssary" WHAT PLANET ARE YOU LIVING ON??? Homemade rolls is THE reason for Thanksgiving. You know, after the giving thanks part. =)

Rolls are one of the only foods I even like on Thanksgiving. And I never have them except at holidays. Report
Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all! Report
Thank you for the great tips! I feel very well prepared this year to have fun AND make wise choices!!!
Great tips that I do plan to use! Report
Great advice here. Now to put it to good use! pat Report
Maybe for the first time in years I feel good about Thanksgiving. I no I'm going to aver eat a little. But this whole last year has been about learning a new lifestyle. So I will workout before and than start back to the regular routine after. I'm starting to learn. Sometimes, just relax and enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving. Report
I worked out a little more all week to take advantage of today, I'm going to enjoy! Report
Thanksgiving (which I spent in Canada) has already been and gone for me, but this is great advice for Christmas dinner! Report
Maybe I'm being naive but I really don't expect to succumb to all that much temptation. I've worked very hard to get myself on track with my meals and fitness. I have a long way to go, but to buckle now would just be like getting into the middle of childbirth and having to go back to the beginning of labor and start over! NO WAY! I'm looking forward! Report
I'm going to take it easy on the main course, just so I can have that slice of pecan pie! We'll have a tray of veggies available, and I'll watch my portions. Report
Yup those very tips have helped me shed 115 pounds in 2 years. I will be 62 in April, with a life time of yo-yo dieting......finally found....portion control, exercise, water, no seconds, small plate, TOPS and Spark People...plus the doctor telling me....it's now a life or death matter being I was 305 pounds in 2006....I started listening and changing. Boy am I thankful. Froggie Gramma Report
We have 2 meals this year. I planned mine out on the tracker to know what I can eat. On some items, I opted for a half portion. I will do just fine. I'm not tempted by rich foods. Report
does a little of everything work? But no seconds!! Report
#6 is on my list. I didn't buy any vegan breads, therefore I won't eat any! Tofurky, veggies, cranberry relish, and vegan pumpkin chocolate cake should be enough already! Report
I'm not hosting this year, but I am bringing a lower-calorie pumpkin pie that I made myself, so at least dessert won't be a problem. I plan on having a nice long work out in the morning, and just watching my portions during the feast. After all, it's only one day! Report
I don't ever host due to financial reasons, but I often follow most of these already. I have learned a few things but most of these I follow anyway because of health issues. Report
Great tips! Report
Since starting my weight loss last December I decided not to eat the traditional foods my family does and instead get a meal that will only be one meal for thanksgiving. Leftovers always got me so instead of having the turkey, cranberry sauce, etc I got myself some chicken, mac and cheese, I'll cook myself some veggies and a biscuit. I'll still have a nice meal but I won't have to worry about leftovers and I can leave Thanksgiving on November 27th :D Report
We are going out this year to Benihana's. So not worried about eating too much. I have enjoyed reading your posts. Happy Thanksgiving...... Report
I just recently saw my Dr. about some health issues and brought up the holiday coming up and she just said to me, it's 1 day. Don't worry about it. So I'm going to watch my portions, but enjoy it. Report
I will really miss being home with my family for Thanksgiving. The only good thing about not being there will be that I won't be able to have numerous pieces of pie. Ha! Report
My mother in law was (in)famous for trying to get people to really overdo. After all, you've lost so much weight you don't look healthy. I found the veggies and salad on half the plate really work. I piled them on. Eating slowly also did the trick. She didn't want to see anyone not eating. Salad in small bites can take a long time to eat. Wonderful ideas in this article.

Also, as the family grew into having teenagers, they plowed through the platters and were happy to have seconds on desert. Report
OH I am such a grazer. That's the thing I'm trying to eliminate this year. :D I do good initially... I just have a hard time not continuing! Report
I am not hosting wither. My mom is. I am scared that she is going to try and make me eat things that I don't want to eat. I will just have to wait and see. Yes, she knows that I am on a lifestyle change and how much I have lost so far. Report
... but I have also printed out this article and will bring it with me in my purse as a reminder (in case I needed one...) Also, I will bring a few snacks just in case I don't find healthy options at the table. Report
I am not hosting this year and I am really nervous... I have been burning as many calories as I can before the "big feast" in order to get extra credits. :-) Report
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