Stay Guilt Free this Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to spend with family and loved ones, but it is also a time where most of us overindulge. Everyone wants to bring their favorite dish, or needs to have both pumpkin and apple pie (with whipped cream on top). With all the rich, heavy choices, there’s a distinct chance that Thanksgiving will turn out to be a high calorie weekend. You will be staggering away from the table, barely able to move enough just to fall into a food coma on the couch. 
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be this way. With reasonable portion sizes and healthier dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor, Thanksgiving dinner can still be joyful, delicious and healthy. Here are my tips on how to have a yummy Thanksgiving without the extra calories.
Eat Before Dinner 
Don't deprive yourself before your Thanksgiving dinner. Eat a hearty breakfast and lunch complete with in-between snacks throughout the day. If you show up at dinner starving, you'll be more likely to overeat and your body will have a harder time digesting the heavy meal. 
Eat Plenty of Veggies 
Before reaching for turkey and potatoes, fill two-thirds of your plate with a rainbow of vegetables. Healthy veggies will fill you up and keep you from indulging in unhealthy food. 
Portion Out Your Meal 
So you have been training hard, but you still want to keep your calories in check. It's ok to feel like you should have some stuffing or some mashed potatoes, just keep your portions in check. Have a palm size portion rather than two fist fulls. 
Cut Back on Calories 
Cutting back calories in your favorite recipes is easier than you think. Here are a few suggestions: 
  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. 
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods. 
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can. 
  • Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles. 
Plan a Post Meal Walk 
During your Thanksgiving celebration, announce that you plan to take a walk after the meal. Most likely, some of your family and friends will want to join you. Once you get a few people on board, it'll be tough to bail out. Plus this is a great way to burn some calories and make you feel less guilty if you happen to overindulge a little.
Cut Back on the Sweets 
When it comes to dessert, you don't have to avoid it altogether. If you've eaten a healthy meal, you can indulge yourself in a sliver of pie or small portion of ice cream. If you're still craving more, continue eating fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way. 
Below are some healthier dessert options for your Thanksgiving this year! 
High Protein Pumpkin Dip 

1 can pure pumpkin 
1 cup 1% cottage cheese 
1 tbsp honey 
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract 
1-2 scoops Now Stevia 
Shaved dark chocolate 
Blend all ingredients except chocolate in a food processor. Pour into a bowl and shave dark chocolate on top. Store in fridge for a few hours before serving. Serve with fruit or my healthier gingerbread cookies! 
Healthier Gingerbread Cookies   

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.  

1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
1 egg  1/4 cup dark molasses  
1 cup brown rice flour 
1 cup oat flour 
1-3 scoops powdered stevia as sweet as you like 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp ground ginger 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/8 tbsp nutmeg  

Mix first 4 ingredients very well in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix. Chill batter for 1/2 hour. Roll dough into small balls and flatten. Bake 12 minutes. Makes 18-20 cookies depending on size.