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thanksgBy Terri Mendoza and Gina Davin

Thanksgiving is a time for food, thanks, love, family, friends, and more food. As wonderful as this time of year is, unfortunately it’s easy to get carried away with all of the holiday specialties and end up eating more than you should.  If you want to make some changes this Thanksgiving, here are some tips!

Be Thankful: Some may argue that Thanksgiving is all about the food; I think it’s all about the family. Whether you are celebrating the holiday “Friendsgiving” style or with relatives, be thankful for those around you! Focus on the wonderful people in your life who make celebrating this holiday so much fun.

Eat Breakfast: Today is the big event, so I should save my hunger and calories all day… Wrong! Fasting before your Thanksgiving meal causes you to become extremely hungry, and by the time dinner rolls around you’ll be ready to eat your festive napkin!  Skipping breakfast usually leads to overeating at dinner. Make sure to eat well earlier in the day to avoid overeating later.  Oatmeal or another whole grain cereal with milk, or yogurt, fruit and whole grain toast are good breakfast ideas.

Make Your First Plate a Taste Test: It is safe to say there will be many delicious items on the Thanksgiving menu. You may want to try them all, and you can! To start, try taking just a little bit of everything you’d like on your plate. Then decide which foods are worthy of seconds. Our eyes are usually bigger than our stomachs (especially around the holidays), and taste testing can help you manage your plate!

Save Room for Dessert: For some, dessert is the best part of any great holiday, so plan ahead and save some room for the pies, cookies, and cakes to come.  Again, take small “tasting” servings of several desserts, or just stick to one or two.

Share the Leftovers: If you’re hosting, buy some containers you don’t mind sending home with your guests after the party is over. Who doesn’t love a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce on Black Friday? Share the Thanksgiving food wealth with your loved ones and save yourself from taking on the challenge of eating all of the leftovers yourself. If you are a guest contributing a dish, bring a couple of extra containers to dish out any leftovers you don’t want to take home.

Hopefully these tips will lead you to a happier—and healthier—holiday.  This year, take time to enjoy your company, and the food, by being thankful, eating breakfast, taste testing, saving room for dessert and sharing the leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving!

 Gina Davin is a dietetic intern at Simmons College. 

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