Don't deprive yourself but be wise on Thanksgiving


With Thanksgiving upon us, many of us are looking forward to a delicious meal prepared with all the trimmings. Many of these dishes are so rich and buttery, it makes it difficult to stick to a small portion. While you shouldn't deprive yourself, you will be less likely to feel like you should have worn elastic waistband pants during the meal if you follow these tips:

- Eat healthy foods first - Fill up on healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats before reaching for the heavy dips, dressings and gravy.

- Smaller serving sizes - Just get one serving size of each instead of creating a mountain of food on your plate. Many times our eyes are bigger than our stomach. This will allow you to go back for more if you need to, but it will also prevent you from overeating if you feel pressured to "clean your plate."

- Bring a dish - Offer to bring a dish. This allows you to prepare a healthy meal that can keep you on track with your goals.

- Choose healthy beverages - Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to keep your body from confusing thirst for hunger. One fruity drink can have as much as 600 calories and up to 60 grams of sugar.

- Eat throughout the day - Eat every few hours to keep your metabolism up and your blood sugar steady. Not eating throughout the day can lead to poor choices and binge eating later on in the day.

- Eat slowly - Put your fork down between every bite and enjoy it. It takes time for your body to send signals that you are full. Eating fast not only leads to overeating but it also deprives you of the pleasure of the flavors in the food, and it can also cause abdominal discomfort and bloating.

- Stay active - Plan fun physical activities that will keep your energy levels up and will help prevent overeating. Exercise in the morning and get it out of the way.

- Keep to your schedule - Try to maintain your normal routine even if you are out of town. The more you stick to it the less likely you will stray from your healthy eating and exercise habits.

Missy Corrigan is executive of community health for Sumter Family YMCA. She can be reached at or (803) 773-1404.