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Healthy Thanksgiving Switches for Weight Loss

Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN

Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season for many, and it’s the holiday season that dieters and weight loss professionals dread. A mix of colder weather, less exercise, more parties, more food and more alcohol can wreak havoc on even the most comprehensive weight loss program.

To help you navigate the holiday season while losing weight, we’ve put together several healthy Thanksgiving switches. Plus, you can use many of these tips on other holidays (and in everyday life)!

Weight Loss Thanksgiving Switches to Make this Year

Take a look at the chart below for healthy switches. Be sure to check out the third column for some expert insight as well.

The Usual The Healthy Switch Inside Information
12 to 14-inch dinner plates Eat your dinner on a 9-inch dinner plate or small salad/dessert plate The smaller the plate, the less food you can pile on.
Sitting on the couch watching football Take a walk or go play football outside If you’re away from the food, the less you’ll eat. Plus, you can burn some calories!
Alcohol before, during and after the meal Choose to drink only before the meal, only during the meal or only after the meal The less time you allow yourself to drink, the less calories from alcohol you will consume. Get more information about alcohol and weight loss.
Mashed potatoes Cauliflower mashed potatoes (or an even mix) Okay, this one isn’t the best substitute in terms of taste and texture, but it can help you save on calories.
Starving yourself all day before the big meal Eat a healthy meal before the meal Choose a meal that is rich in fiber, protein and fluid. These components will keep you full. For example: Eat hummus with tons of raw vegetables and a bowl of fresh fruit and a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt for dessert.
Starting off with high-calorie appetizers (i.e. bread rolls, crackers, meatballs) Bee-line for the low calorie appetizers (i.e. carrots, cauliflower, apple slices) If there is a raw veggie tray, hang out over there for a bit and snack on the high-fiber, low calorie food.
Sitting around the dinner table after the meal Be the first one to offer to clean up This gives you something to do after the meal, rather than munching on desserts and snacks when you’re already full. Plus, you probably won’t be hungry once you see and smell all the dirty dishes!
Cooking with sour cream Cook with plain nonfat Greek yogurt Greek yogurt has a similar flavor to sour cream, but it has less fat and way more protein to fill you up.
Green bean casserole and creamed spinach Steamed green beans and spinach Offer fresh steamed veggies rather than high-calorie casseroles and creamed dishes.
1 slice of pie per person Share 1 piece of pie with someone else Less calories for you and your pie-eating partner!

Which Thanksgiving switches will you do?

Before you head to your Thanksgiving celebration this year, pick 3 to 4 of these switches and commit to them. For more calorie control tips, click here.