Eat smart this Thanksgiving

Looking forward to a plentiful spread on Turkey Day but concerned about the calories in a Thanksgiving dinner? Take heart.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner in your most comfortable pants, consider this – the average American gains between 1-10 pounds during the holiday season and keeps it on for another five months.

So how do you avoid becoming a statistic, especially when faced with such delicious food? Here are some things to keep in mind.

While there’s something truly special about spending time with family and friends on Thanksgiving, the idea that you must eat as much as you can may not be the best decision.

Dr. Eric Thompson at the Rapid City Medical Center says to combat that weight gain, strategize and first ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

Thompson says, “Choose your favorites. Define what’s worth it … eat mindfully, so you’re enjoying it. Savor the flavor, because it’s just going down too fast. You’re not really getting what you want out of that treat that you’re giving yourself.”

He also says to fill up on vegetables. You’ll have more fiber in your stomach and less room for the fattening stuff. Bring a healthy dish to share. The more low-calorie options, the better.

Take on a buddy system. Pair up with someone who will keep you accountable at those holiday parties. Stop grazing and just put the food away so you are not tempted by it. Refuse food if you are full.

Choose your beverages wisely, with water being your primary drink. Limit your alcohol intake.

Wear clothing that fits so you don’t get too comfortable, and watch out for stress eating. Stress can cause food triggers and weight gain. Keep up with your regular exercise and sleep schedule. And remember that the best food for you comes from the earth.

“Your best food is food without labels – in the produce section. You don’t have to try to pronounce the label, and you know where it came from, and you’re getting what your body really wants and needs.”

And lastly, make family get-togethers about each other and not the desserts.

“Just have fun. The holidays are for enjoying your family and friends, sharing stories/gifts, playing games, having activities and that’s what should be the focus. We kind of make it in our culture that eating food is what we should be doing and that’s the fun, whereas we should be making memories – not calories. So remember that pumpkin pie is perishable, but family and friends are permanent.”

Thompson also recommends a calorie budget. When you figure it takes an extra 3500 calorie intake to put on a pound, and the average Thanksgiving dinner is about 3,000 calories – you may want to rethink that extra slice of pie.

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