Surviving the Holiday Feast!

ThanksgivingIs your mouth already watering as you daydream about tomorrow’s Thanksgiving meal? Turkey and gravy. Stuffing and gravy. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Green bean casserole and…..well, you get the idea. Experts say there’s nothing wrong with giving your taste buds a few holiday treats – as long as you don’t overindulge.


We live in a country of abundance. At so many points in American’s lives, food has been our best friend, and at times our worst enemy. With most planning to indulge and enjoy Thanksgiving, it’s as important to remember the values of sharing a meal as it is to practice portion control.

According to research, the average American may consume 4,500 calories or more on Thanksgiving. But, if you feel like eating stuffing, then do it! We should not deprive ourselves of the delicious holiday foods, but be mindful of the amount you consume. adds, “After downing a couple of helpings of turkey and stuffing, your stomach gives a firm nuh-uh to that slice of pumpkin pie. A voice in your head has another idea, replying, “but today’s a holiday, you have to eat it.” After you consume the last delicious bite, your stomach gets revenge in the worst way: with a monster food baby spilling over your jeans. Belly bloat is your body’s way of saying, “you stuffed me,” Keri Gans, RD, a New York City nutritionist, tells Health. This can be hard to avoid during holidays, when stuffing yourself is expected.”

Ok, so how can we strike a good balance between enjoying that Thanksgiving meal and not enjoying it too much? ABC News offers a few tips to help you keep you happy and healthy during the holiday meal.

Many people want to save up for the big meal, but it’s important to remember that holiday meals are one meal of many. It’s a time to enjoy good food and great company on a special occasion. Being mindful and making intentional choices helps to make the food experience all the more enjoyable. I recommend starting the day off with a balanced breakfast and even having a mid-morning snack or lunch depending on when the main meal happens.

  • Make a realistic choice about what you will and will not have.
  • If your goal is to maintain your current body weight, have one plate with the majority of the plate as non-starchy vegetables.
  • If your goal is to lose weight you will need to adhere to your current diet plan and be very mindful of limiting your intake outside of your nutrition prescription.
  • Focus on the fun (if you can). The gathering is about the company, not just the food.

And if you’re thinking, “I can eat as much as I want because I plan to get in a good post-meal workout to burn off the calories,” USA Today says that might be tough to do!

If you hope to burn off your gravy-laden sins with exercise, get ready. It could take a while. Walking off a 3,000-calorie feast takes about nine hours for a 180-pound adult. Jogging off one takes about five. Four and a half hours of jumping rope does the same.

While it may not burn off all the food, the Calorie Control Council suggests a family walk before or after the big meal. You’ll shed some of the calories and it’s a good way to spend quality time with the ones you love.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) wants to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe holiday weekend! And we hope you will continue to stand with us as we look for new ways to drive better health in our state. The healthier we are, the closer we get to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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