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7 tips help you make it through Thanksgiving Day without feeling stuffed

Kimberly Garrison says you don’t have to deprive yourself on Thanksgiving Day, especially if you follow these 7 tips.



Sausage stuffing, dripping with mom's homemade gravy.

Good ol' sweet-potato pie.

These Thanksgiving favorites taste sinfully delicious, no doubt. And I am the last person to tell you to deprive yourself.

But you've worked hard for that physique, and you don't want to blow your waistline on a big meal, right? Here are some strategies to get you through Thanksgiving Day without feeling like a stuffed turkey.

1. Don't starve yourself before the big meal.

In other words, eat before you have Thanksgiving dinner. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but if you starve yourself all day and show up ravenous, you will no doubt eat like you've been on a deserted island for days.

Instead, about an hour before the big meal, try one of these: 2 to 3 ounces of lean protein (think a 3-ounce can of tuna), two boiled eggs, a bowl of vegetable soup or some raw veggies.

2. Keep it green, baby!

It's the rare Thanksgiving table that goes heavy on green leafy vegetables. I suggest offering to bring something green to the meal, to help balance out all the starches and heavy meats.

Why not try your hand at raw baby kale, baby spinach or collard green salad with red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and real crumbled bacon on top. Trust me, it's delicious.

3. Upgrade your grains!

Substitute white-flour items with whole-grain rolls, artichoke pasta or brown rice. If you're the adventurous type, try the tasty whole-grain goodness of quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat.

4. Eat mindfully.

What does that mean, right?

Essentially it's simply taking the time to eat slowly, as opposed to shoveling it all in.

Thoroughly enjoy each bite until you feel about 80 percent full - not 120 percent. Then take a break.

There's no need to gorge yourself; you can always go back for seconds, if you're still hungry.

If you start squirming in your chair and need to lean back and unbutton your pants, you've gone too far.

5. Stay active.

The best thing you can do on Thanksgiving and, well, everyday, is to stay active. In fact, inactivity is probably worse than overeating.

That's why I suggest making exercise your first priority on Thanksgiving morning. Get up, get outdoors and take a nice stroll. Do some push-ups on a park bench. Sprint up a hill.

You will feel invigorated - and thankful, too.

Also, get the kids out during the day to the playground or park. Kids need fitness like they need air. Besides that, you'll rack up "cool points" from the little guys.

6. Light on the alcohol, please.

Aside from the obvious, there's another reason to keep the day light on alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, alcohol is packed with excess calories - a whopping 7 calories per gram, which translates to the average glass of wine packing 150 calories.

Two glasses of wine and you're up to 300 calories already. I know, it's not fair, but that's the way it is.

7. Indulge your sweet tooth.

That's right, you heard me. Go on and have some pie, but be mindful of your portions.

I suggest putting a sampling of your favorite treats on a 4-inch saucer or small plate. You'll get a little taste of everything you love without wrecking your waistline.

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears every other Wednesday.