Thanksgiving is an ideal time to dine with friends and family. But it's also associated with holiday weight gain. Much of that holiday weight gain is due to overeating, consuming nutrient shallow foods and beverages with empty calories, and practicing poor diet habits. Instead of binging on Thanksgiving desserts, have a plan in place. Here are some tips to get you eating healthy this Thanksgiving:

Eat on Time

When you put off eating on time or just eat one meal, you're pushing your limits. You risk slowing down your metabolism, you could increase your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and you drain your energy. It'll also be harder to clearly think and more difficult to sleep. Instead of skipping meals, make sure you have a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks as usual. Just be mindful of your portions and don't help yourself to seconds during Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan Out Your Meal

Before indulging in Thanksgiving dinner, it's key to plan your meal in advance. Try these healthy options for Thanksgiving dinner:
  • Beets. These sweet and savory vegetables are an excellent source of essential nutrients, including iron and magnesium.
  • Brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts are a great source of protein and potassium and contain 2 grams of fiber per half cup.
  • Butternut squash soup. Get Thanksgiving richness without overdoing dinner with this vitamin C-packed soup.
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Eat with confidence with this hearty vegetable that offers lower calories than casseroles and pies.
  • White Turkey Meat. Indulge in a baked or roasted version of this lean protein.

Avoid These Foods

While having a game plan for foods to eat, it's also important to know what foods to avoid. Here are just a few to consider:
  • Casseroles. Stay clear of green bean casseroles or sweet potato casseroles that include calorie-heavy cheese and heavy cream.
  • Pies. A slice of pie can easily be loaded with calories. Pecan pie averages over 500 calories per slice.
  • Stuffing. Stuffing is filled with empty carbs. Just one cup of stuffing can include 175 calories, and this is without adding in any meat. Include bacon bits or sausage, and this caloric intake jumps to 500 calories.
  • Deep-fried turkey. Deep-fried anything can lead to deep trouble by adding tons of calories to your diet.
  • Mashed potatoes. Avoid butter-smothered mashed potatoes, which can be loaded with empty calories.

Final Thoughts

Aim to keep your Thanksgiving healthy by knowing what to eat. Don't starve yourself, either. Instead of wasting calories on drinks, substitute it for water, eat smart and keep these foods in mind so you know what to eat (and what not to) during Thanksgiving.