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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 6 years ago

Rene Cruz: Five steps to a healthier Thanksgiving

Monitor your portions
  1. Monitor your portions: With so much delicious food available on Thanksgiving, people often load their plates with high-calorie items. The trick here is not to cut holiday favorites entirely from your diet, but to use portion control when filling your plate. You don’t have to skip the corn casserole – you should just leave some for leftovers. After you’ve had a second helping the next day, a good idea would be to get rid of the balance so there is no longer a temptation around the house. 

  2. Be picky when it comes to turkey: Although many people consider turkey to be “healthy” meat, there are select parts of the holiday bird that should be left uneaten. The skin on turkey is loaded in fat, and dark meat has a little more fat than white meat. An easy way to reduce calories this Thanksgiving is to stick with skinless, white meat. This way, you can reserve some calories for other favorites. 

  3. Don’t skimp on breakfast: Although you may think you’re saving calories by opting to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving Day, you should actually eat a small breakfast in order to better control your appetite during the big feast. Eating a small, high-fiber breakfast will ensure that you don’t overeat when you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal. 

  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day on Thanksgiving will keep your hunger at bay. Many people mistake dehydration for hunger pains, causing them to reach for an extra helping of food rather than a glass of water. Staying hydrated will allow your body to correctly alert you when you’re full. 

  5. Plan a post-turkey walk: After you’ve eaten your share of traditional Thanksgiving food, gather your family members and go for a walk outside. Walking will not only help you work off some of the calories you’ve consumed, it will also give you energy and help you stay alert after loading up on tryptophan (the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy.)

Dr. Rene Cruz, a board-certified internal medicine physician practicing in Central Florida for more than a decade, has helped more than 400 patients since 2008 at his medical weight loss center, Greater Orlando Medical Weight Loss, near Winter Park. Contact him at [email protected]

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