GO GREEN – 3 Simple Steps to Fixing your Thanksgiving Dinner Plate

When I am referring to going GREEN with this Thanksgiving Nutrition TIP I am not referring to being environmental conscious. Rather I am referring to being caloric conscious.  With that said, enjoy this great holiday meal; however when doing so follow these simple steps when loading (OK – bad choice of words) your plate and you can still enjoy all of your favorites while at same time reduce the total number of calories.

  • Fill your plate first with as much fibrous carbohydrates.  This will be your vegetables (AKA go GREEN) and fruit.
    • Advantage here is that fibrous veggies are nutritional dense and very low in calories.  Not to mention the additional fiber to add to your satiety (state of feeling full).
    • NOTE:  Don’t be fooled with peas and corn.  Many people think because they are vegetables they are fibrous.  Actually these are starchy carbs and will need to be added to your plate (if room) during the third step.
    • Second add your lean protein source – Turkey
      • Advantage here is that the protein has the greatest “thermic” effect of all the macro-nutrients (Carbs, Protein and Fats), meaning that it requires the most calories to digest.  Studies have shown as high as 25% thermic effect with protein; therefore for example; 100 calories of protein, 25 of them would be used in the digestion process alone.  Additionally as with Fiber, protein contributes to your satiety – another helper in preventing you from over eating.
      • Finally add some of starchy carbohydrates:
        • Although these types (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, etc.) contribute to the “tradition” of Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t mean it has to be your entire dinner.   Please do not confuse this recommendation in that I want people to avoid starchy carbs.  We need them as they are a vital nutrient; however unfortunately they are costly (higher caloric value) and very easier to over-eat.  Therefore by leaving less room on your plate for starchy carbs, helps you with your portion control while allowing the satiety factor from the fiber and protein to kick-in.

BONUS TIP with this strategy is to EAT SLOW! When you are following these steps and eat slow it enables your internal “fullness” gauge to kick-in.  Generally it is estimated it takes 20 minutes for you to feel full.   To assist with this bonus tip of eating slow, don’t starve yourself in the morning in anticipation of the big meal so that you inhale all the food on your plate in 3 minutes.  Rather create a veggie tray for the meal and snack on them before hand.  If you still need another trick to slow your eating down, try eating with your less-dominant hand.

Bottom line enjoy this day with your family and friends; but be aware of what you are eating.  If you happen to over-indulge don’t stress about it as it is only one day and utilize the days after to correct your weight management formula.  Take Care and see you back in the “Kitchen”!