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Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving

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1. Make veggies your main attraction

Most veggies are high in water and fiber and relatively low in calories, so eating more of them can help you cut back on foods that pack more calories per bite. For example, trading a cup of cooked spaghetti for cooked spaghetti squash saves 125 calories, and replacing a half cup of brown rice with a half cup of minced mushrooms saves about 100. Just flip-flopping the proportions in meals can have a huge impact on your overall intake, without the need to eat less overall.

2. Say no thanks to can-live-without foods

Many people wind up eating things they don’t really even enjoy throughout the holidays, simply because they’re available, or its tradition. But if any food or treat doesn’t seem worth spending more time at the gym (or living with tighter jeans), you probably won’t regret passing it up. Save your indulgences for items that are truly splurge-worthy, and savor every morsel.

3. Make room for special treats

It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without packing on pounds - if you strategize. One approach is to up your exercise - an extra 15 minutes on the elliptical can offset the calories in one homemade sugar cookie or half cup of mashed potatoes. Or instead of upping your activity, cut back on everyday foods to make room for holiday additions. Just omitting a flour tortilla and ordering a burrito bowl or salad saves 300 calories from a meal, enough to afford a slice of apple pie.

4. Slow down and eat mindfully

In addition to triggering bloating and acid reflux, eating too fast usually leads to eating too much (one study found that speedy eaters are 84% more likely to be overweight). Throughout the season set a simple goal of slowing down. Put your utensil or food down between bites, take a few breaths between forkfuls, and chew thoroughly. To eat more mindfully, which has been shown to boost satisfaction, even when less food is consumed, pay attention to the aroma, textures, and flavors of each bite, and stop when you’ve had just enough to feel full and energized, not stuffed and sluggish.