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10 Thanksgiving Tips for Cutting Calories

One of the most frightening days of the year for many WLS patients, Thanksgiving! Taking the fear out of consuming too many extra calories can lead to a day filled with love, gratitude and hope. Being prepared can help you feel more in control and allow you to get through Thanksgiving, and the entire holiday season, knowing you can enjoy the food and the company and still keep your weight stable.

Take advantage of these calorie-cutting Thanksgiving tips:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally to eat the lean, healthy foods first and to give yourself permission to taste (as in one teaspoon-full tastes) of the more caloric dishes served at holiday get-togethers. This way you will fill up on the healthy foods you have come to appreciate for how they have turned your body into a healthier place for you to live and will prevent you from feeling deprived.
  2. The best news about Thanksgiving dinner for WLS patients is that the main dish is one of the best things for you – as long as you chew it thoroughly! Naturally, sticking to the lean white meat minimizes the number of calories you consume. If you insist on having gravy, put it on the side like you would salad dressing and dip your fork into it so you have just a bit of the flavor rather than floating your turkey in what is really liquid fat, something you definitely want to avoid.
  3. Another benefit of Thanksgiving eating is that most people do put out healthy snacks throughout the day. Choose the fresh veggies and use low-fat yogurt if you want to dip them in something tasty. A few almonds or cashews are also a healthy choice. If you are going away from home, take these foods with you to ensure you have healthy options available.
  4. Drink water as you visit with friends and family (except for the “no-water” time frames before and after your meal). This way you will always have something in your hand and can sip instead of bite.
  5. Avoid alcohol as it contains a lot of empty calories. There are so many other ways to enjoy maybe a few extra calories on Thanksgiving (i.e., a sliver of pie) and alcohol often results in dumping, never a fun experience.
  6. Use the “white space” technique, which means be sure you see plenty of (empty) white space on your plate, which means there are fewer calories than on an overflowing plate!
  7. Use the WLS eating techniques to consume fewer calories. Put your eating utensils down between bites. Wait a few minutes between bites and enjoy conversation.
  8. If you’re the cook, use low-fat recipes. Make some new “traditional” dishes, which contain fewer calories. Your family probably won’t know the difference. If you are eating at someone else’s home, volunteer to bring a few dishes, which you can prepare using the lower-fat ingredients.
  9. Serve several vegetable choices this year. This will allow you to have a greater selection of food on your plate and still eat healthy.
  10. Use sugar substitutes when making even the desserts. Still consume only small – very small – portions of dessert, but the lower the calorie, the better you will feel, both physically and emotionally.

Write down all you have to be grateful for this year and share it with your loved ones. It’s a great tradition. And after your holiday meal, get the gang up and go out for a walk – even if you live where it’s snowing! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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