Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, focus on family, not food

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As a new registered dietitian working in bariatrics, this year, more than ever, I am realizing how the holiday season can be a huge struggle for people fighting to lose or maintain their weight. It makes sense because what’s the focus around holidays? FOOD! In fact, food is often the primary topic of conversation when discussing the holidays. This can make the holiday season stressful or uncomfortable for people who struggle with their weight.

The holidays should be a time to enjoy family and friends and reflect on what we are thankful for. It should not be a time to worry about gaining weight. But with the average American Thanksgiving dinner containing ~4500 calories, it’s no surprise people are concerned.

Maintain your weight this Thanksgiving and holiday season by following these tips:

  • Eat breakfast and lunch the day of your dinner feast. If you starve yourself leading up to your holiday meal, you will over eat and end up consuming more calories than you would have had you eaten regular meals throughout the day.
  • Keep up the exercise! Research shows that those who exercise are more likely to maintain their weight.
  • Remember it’s only ONE meal. Thanksgiving should not last a week. Enjoy the meal and then go back to your regular eating patterns the next day. Say NO to leftovers!
  • Focus your holiday plate on nutrition basics – load up on protein and veggies to keep you full and satisfied for little calories.
  • Save your calories for the foods you enjoy! Choose your foods wisely. Why take Grandma’s jello salad when you know it’s not your favorite? Pick the holiday essentials you can’t live without and savor them!
  • Don’t deprive yourself. If you want a piece of pie, have a piece of pie for Thanksgiving’s sake! Opt for a smaller slice, or limit yourself to one dessert if you don’t want to go overboard.
  • Watch those beverages! Alcohol, punches, and ciders can add 800 calories to your meal if you over do it. Focus on eating your calories this holiday season, not drinking them.
  • My favorite tip: focus on family, not food. Enjoy the company of family and friends this holiday season. Make this time of the year about something other than food.

This Thanksgiving I am looking forward to meeting my new baby cousin and spending quality time with family and friends. I also look forward to making pumpkin bread pudding for Thanksgiving dinner.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving,

Peace, Love, and Food,






  1. Great points. Have a happy thanksgiving kara!

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