Friday, November 19, 2010

Question of the Week: How To Handle Thanksgiving?

The following question was sent in by one of my readers: "My husband was diagnosed with diabetes as few months ago and has been working hard to lose weight and control his blood sugar. Each year we have a family gathering for thanksgiving that includes lots of food (large turkey dinner with all the trimmings and assorted pies & cakes for dessert). What are your suggestions to ensure my husband doesn't overeat but also does not feel deprived this thanksgiving?"

The holidays can be a time when it is easy to overindulge. Here are some tips so you and your husband can enjoy the holiday without feeling deprived at Thanksgiving or any upcoming holiday or dinner get together.

1. Skipping meals before a big holiday party or holiday meal will cause you to binge on all the wrong types of food. Have a little protein, small meal with lots of fiber, or a piece of fruit before you go which will not leave you ravenous when the festivities begin.

2. Use a small salad-sized plate when choosing from the holiday table. With a larger plate you are more likely to try and fill it.

When it comes to picking from the turkey - white meat has less calories and fat than dark meat - and be sure to remove the skin to reduce the fat/calories even more.

3. Balance your plate with protein and fiber-rich foods such as lean meats, salad, vegetables, and fruits. Simpler is better; shrimp cocktail, crudités (without high fat dip) are great party staples to enjoy.

If vegetable side dishes are available choose ones without added fat - for example, skip the green bean casserole (made with fried onions and cream of mushroom soup) and go for the steamed green beans or green beans almondine instead.

Choose a baked potato (or better yet sweet potato) over mashed potatoes made with lots of butter and salt if possible. When choosing your potato - try to pick one that is about the size of your fist. Stay away from rolls/bread from the table (save those carbs for your potato).

4. Try to steer clear of anything that is fried, cheesy, or oily. Stay away from mayo-based salads, greasy appetizers, fatty dips, or anything deep-fried.

5. Use oil-based dressings for your salad and put them on the side. Dip the tines of your fork in them before piercing your salad for flavor. You'll save on calories but not skimp on flavor.

6. Don't deprive yourself of the goodies being served as some of these particular dishes only come once a year. Sometimes a taste is all you need to satisfy a craving.

7. Although nuts are healthy, it is very easy to eat them mindlessly and end up eating more than just a handful which adds up in calories and fat grams.

8. Don't drink your calories (save it for the food). Drink water with your meals - add a lemon or lime slice for flavor. If you want to have a holiday drink, enjoy a wine spritzer instead of wine - you'll save on calories but not substitute flavor.

9. If possible, ask if you can bring an entree or side dish - that way you can make something healthier and have control of the ingredients that are in it.

10. When socializing, try to do it away from where the food is displayed. Out of sight, out of mind.

After dinner, and if the weather is nice, instead of sitting on the couch - go for a walk outside with some of your family and friends to continue socializing.

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