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TOP 5 Tips for a Fit and Trim THANKSGIVING - PLUS Healthy Fall Recipes to Add to your Holiday Menus!

Help!  Thanksgiving is coming!?

How can I prevent going overboard this year but still enjoy my meal and family time!?

During Thanksgiving, it can be so tempting to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pumpkin or pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows can almost make it seem impossible to behave and avoid the inevitable weight gain, right?

"...eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn't mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods," said Jennifer K. Nelson, a registered dietitian and director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"If you've got your eating under control for the majority of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don't lose control entirely," Nelson told MyHealthNewsDaily. "Keep your willpower and your wits about you."

Having a healthy Thanksgiving doesn't mean you have to punish yourself or do without entirely....

There are lots of tips and tricks to help you stick to your healthy lifestyle while avoiding the trap that leads so many to the average 7-10 lb weight gain during the holidays.

But how?

Here are 5 Tips for a Fit and Trim THANKSGIVING and Holiday Season!

1.  Watch Portion Size:  Probably one of the most important tips to be aware of and most overlooked is portion control.  If you're trying to watch your waistline, don't go back for seconds and thirds.  
Aim to fill 3/4 of your plate with vegetables and fruit then about a quarter with white meat turkey or ham.  

2. Eat before you indulge:  Don't starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day, with the idea that you're just "saving room" for the feast to come, or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later.   When the time comes to sit down for the Family Thanksgiving meal and you are famished you are much more likely to overeat than if you've previously eaten a healthy breakfast and maybe a delicious protein shake for lunch!  

(check out some of these delicious Fall-Inspired protein shake recipes here!)

^ Fall Protein Shakes
to stay Fit during the Holidays!

If you're going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure you eat breakfast before. If you're going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon as well.

"You definitely want to have your normal meals because otherwise, whenever we get over-hungry, we overeat," 

3. Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones:  
There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. 

For example:

  • For mashed potatoes: use chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter.   OR consider mashed cauliflower or a combination of mashed cauliflower and mashed potatoes.  
  • (**Try this recipe for Rosemary and Garlic Cauliflower Mash from the Eat Yourself Skinny Blog!**)
  • For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative, and use a low-sodium mushroom soup with water rather than full fat mushroom soup made with milk or cream.   
  • (**Try this delicious recipe for Skinny Green Bean Casserole from Oprah!**)
  • and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad.
  • And for dips, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream — the consistency is similar, but yogurt has less fat and more protein.
  • Another easy way to cut fat out of your meal is to avoid eating the skin on the turkey. Dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, but limiting your helpings of unhealthy sides or dessert will have a much bigger impact than just eating white meat instead of dark.
  • If you're baking homemade pie, opt for whole wheat pie crusts and substitute low-fat or skim milk for evaporated milk, she said.

4. Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating:  Many times when people think they are hungry, they are actually just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you'll lower the risk of overeating.

It's also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of laying on the couch or sitting around.  Do a 30 min workout in the morning before you head out to the family events or get together for a game of Turkey bowl!

5. Avoid snacking throughout the day:  Follow the "out of sight, out of mind" way of thinking.  When you snack throughout the day, it's easy to lose track of how much you've eaten.  Put any tempting snacks away or just stay out of the kitchen if it's not time to eat or cook.

Healthy Recipe Ideas for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other Family Holiday Meals:

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes-

2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
2 oz pecans, chopped

1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer in 9x13 inch glass dish.
Combine maple syrup, butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a bowl, and pour over potatoes.
Toss to coat and sprinkle pecans over top.
Cover potatoes with foil bake 15 minutes.
Uncover, stir and bake again, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown for 45-50 minutes longer.

Cranberry- Quinoa Salad/Stuffing-
Makes 6ish servings
-3 chicken sausages (I used sweet apple organic, but any vegetarian sub or tempeh would be great too)
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 large apples, chopped
-1-2 cloves garlic
-1.5 C quinoa, rinsed and drained
-3 C veggie or chicken broth
-1 heaping T chopped fresh sage
-1/2 t dried thyme
-1/2 C dried cranberries

1. In a large pan over medium heat, sautée the sausage, onion and apple in a little olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer to the rice cooker (or if you want to cook it on the stovetop, a large pot)

3. Add the quinoa, cranberries, sage, thyme and broth.
4. Cook on the “brown rice” setting, or until light and fluffy (stovetop, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes)
It’s a perfect lunch staple: on top of salad, or in a day-after-Thanksgiving style wrap with lettuce and cranberry goat cheese.
Pumpkin Protein Muffins:
Next, get started on your 30 day Nutritional Cleansing and Fat Burning system to avoid gaining weight this season and get started on the road to your bikini body next summer!  
Remember, Summer Bodies are Earned in the Winter!! :-D
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