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Explore our expert knowledge on topics such as healthy eating during the holidays, and how to live into a happier and healthier you in the New Year. Discover tips and tricks on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties and while on vacation.

How Healthy Prepared Meals Can Combat Overeating at Thanksgiving

How Healthy Prepared Meals Can Combat Overeating at Thanksgiving

Most people think that there is no such thing as eating healthy prepared meals at Thanksgiving. Most traditional Thanksgiving recipes call for breaded stuffing (high in carbs), deep friend turkey (high in fat), and delicious homemade pumpkin pies (high in sugar). Even though most people look forward to overeating over the holiday weekend, this small period of overeating in the short term, could cause a lot of problems for you in the long-term.

Thanksgiving should be a time for celebrating, and you don’t have to give up all the foods you love in order to stay healthy. Even though Thanksgiving encourages you to overeat, you should be very cautious as short-term overeating can have long-term effects on your healthy lifestyle goals.

Eating healthy prepared meals at Thanksgiving can help curb your craving to stuff your face and even help you stay healthier.

Most people don’t realize the drastic effects that short-term overeating can cause in the long run. Even if you aren’t overweight come Thanksgiving time, recent studies suggest that you could be if you develop a short-term pattern of overeating. In fact, a recent study showed an increase in body fat and body weight in individuals who were a normal weight for their height after they developed a pattern of overeating.

Even though you won’t gain a bunch of weight from just eating Thanksgiving dinner alone, this period of time where most Americans overeat until they are stuffed can be a gateway that encourages more unhealthy meal choices down the road.

In this study published by Nutrition & Metabolism, a group studied the behaviors of 18 men and women around the average age of 26, increased their caloric intake and dropped their physical activity levels to no more than 5,000 steps per day. (Roughly, 2.5 miles a week for four weeks.)

Before the study, most of these men and women were eating a diet that consisted of about 2,200 calories per day. For the study, they increased their intake to be about 70% more, which equals out to be over 4,000 calories per day.

After only a one-month binge of eating unhealthy foods, most of these men and women who were average weight before the study gained an average of 14 pounds in just one month.

Even though Thanksgiving may seem like the right time to forget about making healthy choices, it is important to use caution so you don’t develop food behaviors that can cause you to gain weight rapidly.

Healthy prepared meals for Thanksgiving may seem like a difficult task, but it really isn’t that hard. Put a spin on some traditional recipes by substituting some unhealthy ingredients for “healthier” alternatives.

Opt for sugar-free desserts instead of recipes with regular sugar. Sugar-free will help curb your craving for more sweets later, and your metabolism will thank you for it.

You can still eat the traditional breaded stuffing just make sure you eat a healthy protein-packed breakfast in the morning. Saving room by skipping meals in the morning is definitely the wrong way to go. By eating a little protein and fiber in the morning for breakfast, your body will burn off the calories you eat at Thanksgiving dinner faster and more efficiently.

Instead of re-filling your glass of wine between meals, go for non-alcoholic drinks instead. You can still stay hydrated and not have to worry about the extra calories in your wine glass.

Once you feel full, don’t re-load your plate. Trust your gut, and know when to walk away from seconds, or in some cases, thirds.

In order to make your Thanksgiving holiday a little more “exercise” friendly, get everyone to participate in games and activities where they are up and moving around. The more physical activity that is happening, the better everyone will feel.

Your Thanksgiving menu doesn’t have to be saturated with bland food that takes away from the traditions of your family. It’s all about choosing healthier alternatives that help you beat the process of overeating your way into unhealthy habits. With these tips, you can still have your Thanksgiving and enjoy all the meals that come with it.

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