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Smarter Eating This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving means a road trip home to see your mom, waiting for the Big Bird balloon in the Macy’s parade and the start of Christmas music (finally!).
Oh yeah,  and a blow-your-mind, hopefully homemade and totally delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans ... I could go on forever. Don’t even get me started on pie.
While the meal may rock, the calorie consumption doesn’t. Her Campus UFL has found a few painless methods that’ll help you eat intelligently. Seriously, read on – eating well during Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be hard!

Eat breakfast and lunch. Start your day with a healthy breakfast of fruit and have something light for lunch. Skipping these meals in order to ‘save up’ for the big one later in the day is not a good idea. Eating normally on Thanksgiving Day will prevent you from over-eating and keep your energy up. (http://newsroom.dc.gov/show.aspx/agency/doh/section/2/release/20797/year/2010)
Don’t drink too much wine. If your family serves wine, limit yourself to one glass … the calories can seriously add up! Instead, drink water – and lots of it. It’ll quench your between-bite thirst while hydrating you throughout the meal. On the other hand, wine could stimulate your appetite even more and impair your judgment.
Load up on the veggies. Fill up one half of your plate with vegetables, one quarter with lean turkey meat and one quarter with a starch of your choice. Go for white turkey meat instead of dark, which is about twice as fatty. Peel off the skin and give it to your brother – you’ll feel better about what you’re eating and he’ll owe you a favor. Only eat until you’re full. Think the old “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” adage!
Choose pumpkin pie over pecan. Pumpkin pie provides vitamin A, calcium and iron, while the pecan pie’s nuts aren’t enough to justify the amount of corn syrup necessary to make it sweet. Top with low-fat Cool Whip (I promise it tastes the same as regular). (http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/top-swaps-thanksgiving)
Skip the after-dinner nap.Whether the sleep-inducing qualities of tryptophan are a myth or not, don’t fall asleep! Once you’ve digested a bit, round up your little cousins and organize a game of football in the back yard. You’ll be having so much fun chasing them around that you won’t even realize you’re burning calories.
Final words of advice: Don’t worry too much. C’mon, it is Thanksgiving, after all. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone needs to eat, and everyone loves Thanksgiving. This may be the only time you have home cooking until Christmas, so relax a bit. Trust yourself to make the right food choices, and if you make a bad one, recognize that it’s OK.
We’re thankful for you, readers. Have a yummy holiday!

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