How to Stay Fit on Thanksgiving Day -- Smart Eating Tips

I'm the most guilty one here -- I eat out almost every night of the week (read my Thanksgiving articles on, and I'm pretty diligent about cleaning my plate. Thanksgiving is even harder, because it's a meal when you're encouraged to eat everything and you have hours and hours to sit, sip and munch over conversations with your family.

Travel and Food Notes welcomes guest blogger Stephanie Middleberg, RD, founder of Middleberg Nutrition, my favorite expert when it comes to helping me recover from my foodie lifestyle. Here's Stephanie's advice for dealing with the excesses of Thanksgiving and recuperating.

Thanksgiving is probably the most anticipated meal of the year. We all have our favorites, the mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, creamy vegetables or casseroles and pies galore. A typical Thanksgiving meal can add up to 3,500 calories, that's one and a half times your daily calorie intake! Below are some strategies to help you eat your favorite foods without feeling like you need to run a marathon to burn the meal off.

1. Plate proportions: 1/2 of your plate should be vegetables or salad, 1/4(or 1 fist size) protein and the other 1/4 your carbohydrate (i.e. stuffing, potatoes, squash, etc.). Whether you choose your favorite carbohydrate and stick to one serving or choose a few, the key is to keep to 1/4 of your plate!

2. 1 plate rule: If you consumed the above, you should not need a second serving! Give yourself at least 20 minutes for the food to get digested before you make a move.

3. Slow down! We often scarf our food down at this meal. Be sure to put your fork down at least 4 times and drink at least 2 full glasses of water during the meal.

4. Have dessert: If you have a sweet tooth, choose 1 dessert, enjoy it and no picking. Choosing pumpkin pie or apple pie over pecan pie can save over 200 calories. Furthermore, if you forgo the crust, you are saving yourself another 100 calories.

5. Sip wisely: every 4 ounce glass of wine is roughly 100 calories. Multiply that by 4 and you have added a meal worth of calories. Wine, spritzers, light beer, a glass of bubbly or liquor with soda water or on the rocks are the least caloric options. The sugar in the alcohol or mixers increases your sugar cravings and the alcohol acts as an appetite stimulant causing you to go for that second slice of pie.

6. Eat during the day: Have a healthy breakfast and lunch and don’t arrive to the table starving. As much as you think you are saving calories, you will attack everything in front of you.

7. Beware of the pickables: (i.e. bowl of nuts, cheese plate, hummus and crudités, crackers and guacamole). 20 nuts in one handful= roughly 200 calories; 5 wedges of cheese=over 500 calories. Forgo these items. Save the calories for the good stuff at the meal itself.


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