Heart Healthy Diet Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

These heart healthy diet tips for Thanksgiving dinner will help you enjoy a heart smart holiday season! Eating healthy can be delicious if you follow the right diet tips……

Before the tips, a quip:

“With men, there’s a preference toward comfort food that’s a little more healthy, like meat, pasta and potatoes,” says food psychologist and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “Women choose things like chips, cookies, chocolate and cake.”

The first heart smart tip for any holiday dinner is to be aware of your diet downfalls. If you’re a meat and potatoes person, find ways to control your portion sizes. If you’re a dessert nut, learn how to indulge without overeating. And, to stick to your exercise and fitness goals over the holiday season, get a Digital Pocket Pedometer to keep you focused. Counting your steps will help counteract the seasonal indulgences!

And, here are several tips for a healthy Thanksgiving holiday…

Heart Healthy Diet Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

Eat foods full of water and fiber before eating Thanksgiving dinner. This one of the best tips for keeping your heart healthy and your weigh low. Dr John La Puma calls it volumizing: “If you eat a food that is full of water, you will eat fewer calories and lose weight,” he writes in ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine. If you follow this heart healthy diet tip, you’ll eat foods that take longer to digest, contain fewer calories, and help you feel full without overeating. Before you indulge in Thanksgiving dinner, eat broth-based soups, smoothies, fruits, and veggies.

Involve your family and friends in your exercise schedule. Instead of sacrificing your social time to work out or neglecting your exercise to visit with family and friends, invite them to join your exercise routine. Or, try a new way to exercise over the holiday season. Activities you can do together include snowshoeing, hiking, ice skating, skiing, tobogganing, and even just walking. After all, heart healthy diet tips aren’t just about holiday dinners — they’re about exercise, too.

Snack every 2-3 hours on healthy foods. To keep your metabolism burning, don’t let yourself get too hungry. Eat low-fat, low-cholesterol snacks such as cheese, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit. Since it takes a long time for the fat in nuts and cheese to metabolize, it lasts longer in your stomach. You’ll feel full longer, which will prevent you from overeating at Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure your snacks are heart healthy, and remember that a snack portion is about ¼ cup – a small handful.

Eat Thanksgiving dinner off a small plate. Dr Brian Wansink is a food psychologist and author of  Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. His research shows that holiday weight gain can be stopped not by dieting, but by doing things such as eating off smaller plates (because small plates make food look bigger) and eating two vegetables with every meal (because the more variety you have, the more you’ll eat). His diet tips will help keep your heart healthy. Remember that there’s a link between heart health and obesity, so you need to be strategic about how you eat and where you eat – not just what you eat.

Follow heart healthy diet tips most of the time. A dietitian I recently interviewed said that if healthy people choose nutritious foods and healthy physical activity 80% of the time, they can indulge themselves 20% of the time. If you have serious heart health issues, talk to your doctor before applying this “80/20” rule to your Thanksgiving dinner and holiday season eating habits. But, most people can let themselves indulge in seasonal treats 20% of the time without suffering ill effects (such as weight gain).

Plan your meals and snacks in advance. Another dietitian I talked to said that planning is the number one step towards weight control – which affects your heart health. Planning your snacks and meals isn’t just a diet tip for Thanksgiving it’s a great way to lose weight and stay healthy. Planning your food intake reduces your unhealthy food choices and binge eating that leads to weight gain.

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An organic Thanksgiving dinner can be a great way to keep your heart healthy over the holiday season. Experiment with natural turkey recipes and local foods, and stick to your heart smart goals.

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For more heart healthy tips, read 12 Small Ways to Get Healthy That Make a Big Difference.

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3 thoughts on “Heart Healthy Diet Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Drew P.

    Eat right at the right time. Skipping meals makes us starve and crave for more. When we skip meals, tendency is we lose control on our eating habits and eventually miss the healthy diet.