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Police Your Portions

  • Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you're going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.

"Don't waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long," suggests Diekman. "Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods."

  • Skip the Seconds.

    Try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings.

    "Leftovers are much better the next day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for a delectable dessert," Diekman says.

  • Choose the Best Bets on the Buffet.

    While each of us has our own favorites, keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others.

    "White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories," says Diekman. But she adds that, "if you keep your portions small, you can enjoy whatever you like."

Slowly Savor

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

Spread out the food and fun all day long. At the Finn family Thanksgiving gathering, they schedule dessert after a walk, while watching a movie together.

"We eat midday, and instead of another meal at dinnertime, we continue the feast with dessert a few hours after the main meal," Finn explains.

Go Easy on Alcohol

Don't forget those alcohol calories that can add up quickly.

"Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer and between alcoholic drinks, (or) enjoy sparkling water," says Diekman. "this way you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober."

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