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Half-way Healthy Thanksgiving Feasting

In theory it’s perfect. A family get-together with the menu pre-determined. No presents, no elaborate decorations, no greeting cards, no singing, no church services, just a time to be thankful for family and friends. Right? Well, yeah, for some. But, for those who chronically battle weight gain Thanksgiving dinner can be bulging with forbidden temptations.
The Calorie Control Council says that the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving. Whew! But an article in Huffington Post by nutritionist Dr. Lisa Young says that the average Thanksgiving meal is closer to 2,500 calories.
Well that makes me feel better. But, Young said that no matter the exact number of calories, we most likely all eat too much. And it was probably easy for her to say that we don’t have to. We all knew that, didn’t we?
“Don’t try to diet during the holidays. Try to maintain your current weight. At the very least, now is not a time to begin a diet,” she said.
I’m not sure I like her suggestion about what to wear, though. “Ladies, wear tight fitting clothes. Men, be sure to keep your belt buckle snug. This will help prevent you from overeating.”
But, I want to overeat. I just don’t want to break the scale on Friday. Health.com has some good ideas that won’t let you consume anywhere near the 2,500 calorie mark. As a matter of fact they range in the 750s.
They say to pick the one or two items that you want to splurge on and then take smaller portions of everything else. For instance, if your craving is for cranberry sauce, those sugary, tart, delicious berries that are full of antioxidants, grab a tennis ball sized portion. Then add a handful of lightly sautéed green beans.
“Add matching portions of stuffing and mashed potatoes, along with a helping of skinless white meat turkey the size of a smartphone. Top it with a shot-glass-size portion of gravy. For dessert – yes you still get it! – grab only a sliver of pie (use two thumbnails as a width guide” to keep the total sugar in check,” Health.com says.
If it’s all about the turkey, go for a portion about as large as a bar and a half of soap. And, have both white and dark meat if you like, although they say to avoid the skin which in my opinion is the best part. Then your portions of stuffing and mashed potatoes should be about the size of a half of a tennis ball or a whole one of one or the other. Gravy and cranberry sauce should only fill a shot glass. And, a sliver of pie is included in those 740 calories.
But, you say it’s all about pie, who wants just a sliver? “Thanksgiving pies are often made with superfood fillings, such as vitamin A-rich pumpkin and antioxidant-spiked fruits like raspberries and apples. But they’re also full of fat and sugar, so it’s important to plan around that hunk of pie,” Health.com says.
They advise that during dinner you have a thin portion of skinless white-meat turkey (picture that smartphone again) and your stuffing and mashed potato servings should be about the size of a large egg each. Stick to a golf-ball-size dollop each of gravy and cranberry sauce and then, and then you can have an eighth of the pie! Or perhaps you’ll prefer a sixteenth of two different ones, all for 760 calories.
So my plan for tomorrow is to eat lots of stuffing and leave behind the mashed potatoes that I can eat any time. And since I eat lots of vegetables every other day I can skip the green bean casserole, can’t I? And, if I take something on my plate that I don’t particularly like, I just won’t eat it. I’m an adult, who can tell me I can’t have dessert if I don’t clean my plate?
I’ll be thankful for the treadmill on Friday, but tomorrow I’ll be thankful for my friends and family, my health and readers like you. Have a wonderful holiday!
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 208-264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

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