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This Thanksgiving, give thanks for a healthy holiday

Taming the feast
At Christmas, we have gifts and usually a big meal. For the Fourth of July, we have fireworks and BBQ.   At Halloween, we have costumes and candy. For Thanksgiving, we have a food...more food...and desserts. Although many holidays incorporate delicious foods, during Thanksgiving, it becomes the main attraction. It may taste scrumptious, however, the traditional Thanksgiving feast might seem less appetizing once nutritional factors are considered.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average Thanksgiving dinner contains about 3,000 calories. If the additional snacking that tends to occur throughout the day is taken into account, the total caloric intake for the day adds up to approximately 4,500. "A 160 lb. person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off a 3,000-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal," said Dr. Cedric Bryant, ACE chief exercise physiologist.

Although one day of indulgence will not necessarily destroy your health, there are some simple things you can do to make Thanksgiving more nutritious and less calorically dense.

Before you dig in
  • Eat breakfast
Skipping this meal could lead you to overeat at dinnertime. (Thus the reason I use a simple breakfast/meal solution with Shakeology - The Healthiest Meal of the Day.
  • Have a salad or some fruit and veggies before leaving home or prior to your meal
This way you will feel fuller and less likely to overeat, this is the same way I use Shakeology, do you know whats in Shakeology?, Take a peak.

  • Fill up on water
With zero calories, water is a great way to stay hydrated and feel fuller without increasing your energy intake.

When you cook
  • myplatePrepare your stuffing outside the bird with whole wheat bread
Using whole wheat bread will help you get more whole grains as suggested by MyPlate. By preparing the stuffing outside the turkey, it will not absorb fat from the drippings.
  • Replace the butter with olive oil and chicken broth
When preparing your turkey, you can save up to 400 calories while still maintaining flavor by doing this.
  • Use a low-fat cooking method for the turkey
Rather than frying your turkey, grill, broil, roast, or bake it to allow for more fat to drip away.
  • Refrigerate the turkey drippings before preparing the gravy
This way, you can skim off some of the hardened fat, reducing the amount that goes into your gravy. 
  • If you have time, prepare the cranberry relish yourself
You can make cranberry relish yourself by just adding together two cups of fresh cranberries, one granny smith apple, one navel orange, and a little honey. The preparation does not take long, but it will save about 100 calories and cut the sugar of this side dish nearly in half compared to canned cranberry sauces.
  • Use non-fat or reduced-fat milk in your mashed potatoes
These substitutions for 2% or whole milk will incorporate less fat without dramatically impacting your recipe.

As you eat
  • Make MyPlate your plate
Don't think about Thanksgiving dinner as a buffet. Consider the kinds of foods and portions suggested by MyPlate. By choosing smaller portions, you can sample more of the different foods. 
  • Use smaller dishes
People have a tendency to fill their plates, so if you have a small plate, you will usually end up eating less food. It may seem obvious, but smaller dishes really do encourage smaller portion sizes.  
  • Avoid eating the skin on the turkey
          This will significantly reduce your intake of fat and cholesterol.
  • Go for the white meat
A serving (for which the portion should be just slightly larger than a deck of cards) of white meat is 124 calories, compared to 286 calories for the same amount of dark meat. 
  • Use a tablespoon to pour your gravy
By using an actual tablespoon instead of the spout of the gravy dish, you will have better portion control.
  • Enjoy your pumpkin pie
Like any dessert, pumpkin pie is high in sugar. However, compared to another popular dessert, carrot cake, pumpkin pie tends to have about half the calories and half the fat. Pumpkin pie also trumps pecan pie. While the pecan nuts contain healthy fats, this is not enough to compensate for the unhealthy corn syrup found in most fillings. Additionally, pumpkin can be a great source of beta-carotenes, an antioxidant that supports the immune system. Furthermore, pumpkin is high in fiber, which will help you achieve a sense of fullness and curb your desire to continue eating.


To your health this Thanksgiving and Holiday Season.
-Coach Burgan

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