Don't make your waistline pay the price for your merrymaking.
Between the turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing, biscuits, and pie, you're apt to consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering. Don't make your waistline pay the price for merrymaking. Here, experts share 14 tips for getting your fill of family gatherings between Thanksgiving and the New Year and actually losing weight—and you won't have to skip out on turkey or pumpkin pie.
1. Make a plan
Before putting a single morsel on your plate, look at all of the offerings and decide which dishes you most want to eat. "Pick your favorites and take small servings of those foods; skip anything that isn't a must-have," advises Mary Beth Sodus, registered dietician and medical nutrition therapist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Making a plan for which foods to pick lets you indulge in your favorites and avoid extra calories from mindlessly choosing everything that's available.
2. Pay attention to portions
"The holidays are not a license to overeat," says Victoria Shanta Retelny, a Chicago-based registered dietician and author of Total Body Diet for Dummies. Serving up smaller portions saves a lot of calories. Worried eating less will leave you feeling deprived? Researchers at Cornell University fed study participants small or large portions of chocolate, apple pie, and chips and found that both groups felt equally satisfied with their indulgence—even though those given smaller portions ate half as many calories.
3. Pick a different plate
You'll eat 30% fewer calories if you scoop holiday favorites onto a smaller plate, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. "A smaller plate gives you the illusion that you're eating more food," explains Sodus. Fill up a salad plate instead of a dinner plate and your waistline will benefit.