Before you fill your plate with mounds of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner, think about how much you are actually eating. According to the Health Castle Web site, at a typical Thanksgiving dinner, a person could consume over 2,000 calories. Although daily calorie intakes differ for individual people, most people should consume 2,000 calories in a whole day. An average Thanksgiving dinner promises to pack in a whole days worth of calories. To health conscious individuals, this is not good, and it also brings problems to the determined person who is dieting around the holidays.
According to the Health Castle Web site, there are some things you can do to try to keep this infamous holiday feast on the healthy side.
Do not go to Thanksgiving dinner hungry. According to Health Castle, we eat faster when we are hungry, so eating a healthy breakfast and lunch might stop us from over-eating when it comes to dinner time.
Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Health Castle Web site also warns against filling your plate too much; stop when you are full.
Go skinless with your turkey. According to Health Castle, only eat a 4-oz piece of turkey, and make sure it is skinless to avoid fat and cholesterol.
Watch your portion sizes with your side dishes. Limiting the portion size will allow you to sample many different side dishes.
Make a conscious effort to limit high fat intake. A lot of normal Thanksgiving dinner foods like cheese-filled casseroles and mashed potatoes are made with extra butter and cheese. Also, watch out for foods made with a l ot of excess fats like marshmallows, cream and sugar.
Drink plenty of water. Alcohol and coffee can dehydrate the body, so fill up on calorie-free water to keep your stomach full and keep your body hydrated.
There is plenty of information out there on eating healthy at Thanksgiving dinner, but most college students seem to enjoy the holiday just the way it is.
“I eat a lot, a whole lot, at least two plate fulls,” fourth-year communications studies major Sarah Levin said. “I don’t watch what I am eating at all, and I don’t worry about gaining weight until after the holidays.”
Well, after the holidays it might be too late. Some nutrition experts say that people gain from one to five pounds over the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving dinner.
Students do not seem to mind.
“I love Thanksgiving dinner,” communications studies major Jess Cappasso said. “Stuffing and mashed potatoes are my favorite.”
Cappasso also added that she doesn’t care about weight gain over the holiday season.
Although most students go home to enjoy that filling Thanksgiving dinner, there were some options last week for students wanting to enjoy an early Thanksgiving feast.
In Lawrence Dining Hall, there was a Thanksgiving-like dinner on Nov. 15, called the Harvest Buffet Dinner, which had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked ham, cranberry sauce, corn and assorted desserts. Although there was an opportunity to over-eat, the meal did feature some healthy options to keep it light.
This year, think about keeping it healthy. It is just one meal, and it is just the beginning of a month-long satisfying and rich holiday season.
Lauren Whitaker is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at LW588061@wcupa.edu.