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Surviving Thanksgiving and holiday meals: tips for kids and parents

Posted Nov 09 2009 10:01pm

Yes, it's that time of the year!  The holidays with lots of filling dinners, family meals, scrumptious snacks, and tempting desserts are here!  And it all begins with Thanksgiving, a time to slow down, count our blessings, and spend some much-needed R&R time with loved ones.  We all look forward to this time for one reason or another and it becomes challenging as we try to eat healthfully while still enjoying our favorite childhood indulgences... is this even possible?  Sure!

Tips for maximizing enjoyment of your healthy Thanksgiving meal:

  •  Try cooking with low-fat substitutesinstead of full-fat ingredients -- if your recipe just doesn't taste the same with the substitute, just eat a smaller portion instead, eat it slowly, and enjoy!  Enjoy  Two Delicious Low Fat Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes .
  • Invite your kids to help you with the preparation of all the food (especially important are the ones that include vegetables).  Kids are more likely to eat the food they help prepare, including fruits and veggies!  Just make sure that you put safety first, always supervise, and allow them to help only in age-appropriate activities.
  •  Make it a Thanksgiving brunch, lunch or early dinner instead of late dinner.  This gives your body time to digest the food and burn off some calories before retiring on a full belly for the night.
  • Take your time eating the food on your plate.  Allow yourself and your child to eat slowly, giving your body time to register that it is in fact full, instead of eating quickly and then feeling absolutely stuffed (kind of like the turkey on your dinner table!).  Enjoy eachother's company around the table, talk, laugh, reminisce!
  •  If you'd like a bit more of something, indulge with a small second portion.  Or wait until snack time, about 3 hours later to have some more!  This gives your body time to digest what you have already eaten without overdoing the calories all at once -- your body is more likely to burn them off if you space them out in this fashion instead of all jam packed into one meal.
  • Avoid overstuffing yourself -- you will feel better.
  •  Take leisurely walks or strolls after meals, particularly dinner.
  •  Or even better yet, sign the whole family up to run a  5K /10K Turkey Trot  on Thanksgiving Day!   Did you know that running a 10K burns approximately 780 calories? So, you wake up early in the morning, exercise, and then indulge in your Thanksgiving feast!
  •  And one more tip -- usually the holidays center around food and meals...
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