It’s that time of the year again: Thanksgiving! Time to enjoy the company of our family and friends and, yes, share a festive meal together. When you’re trying to maintain your healthy lifestyle, this may seem like more of a cause for worry than for celebration, but with these Thanksgiving weight loss tips from the Q, you can relax and enjoy every minute of this special day!

Change things up a little! The QWLC Two-Day Thanksgiving Feast is an optional, alternative meal plan that you can follow on Thanksgiving and the day after. Mixing things up can boost your metabolism, and this special plan will allow you to partake in the best parts of the Thanksgiving meal while working towards your healthy goals.

Eat breakfast. Don’t try to “save up” calories for the big meal. Experts say that eating a small meal for breakfast can give you more control over your cravings and appetite later in the day. A Q-Snack in the morning is a perfect way to ensure you are satisfied all day long.

Enjoy a change of scenery. It’s Thanksgiving, not Groundhog Day, so you don’t have to spend all your time in one place! Avoid the temptation to snack all day long by spending time outside of the kitchen whenever possible. Play a board game with your family, start your holiday shopping, or enjoy the cooler weather by taking a walk outside.

Dress to impress! Save the sweatpants for your morning jog. Instead, wear something flattering and form-fitting to Thanksgiving dinner. Looking great will boost your confidence and help you stick to your goals, plus “you’ll be less likely to overeat if you’re wearing something a little snug, because you’ll start feeling uncomfortable more quickly,” says Keri Gans, R.D.1 The goal is to make it through the meal without having to undo the top button of your pants.

Eat before the meal. If you show up hungry, you’re more likely to overeat. Be sure and pre-party with a healthy snack. Vegetables or a Q-Snack are perfect choices to help tame your hunger before the meal.

Supply a side. Not hosting the meal? Ensure you have healthy options you love by bringing a healthy side or appetizer with you. A veggie platter or tossed salad will be popular with the other guests and perfect for your healthy goals!

Add some color to your plate… literally! Everyone knows that eating foods with a variety of natural colors is not only more visually interesting, but also helps ensure that you are getting a wide range of nutrients from your food. What you may not know is that studies have shown that people are less likely to overeat light-colored foods (like turkey) on brightly colored plates. So this year, skip the boring, white china and enjoy your meal on something a little more festive!

Be picky. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it! With so many delicious options on Thanksgiving, choose carefully, and eat only the items you really enjoy. “If it isn’t everything you’d hoped it would be, don’t waste calories by having another bite,” says Elisa Zied, R.D.2

Focus on your family and friends. Remember that Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy with the people we love, independent of a big meal. Take time in between bites to sip water and to talk to your loved ones! Drinking water and eating more slowly means you will be more satisfied with less food, and socializing with your family and friends is truly the most important part of the meal.

Indulge in a healthy dessert. Dessert can work as a great “meal ender” to ensure that you stop eating once you are satisfied. Finish your meal with fruit, QWLC Pumpkin Pie, or a Q-Snack to tell your body that it is time to stop eating. If you’re still tempted, freshen up with some minty sugar-free gum.

Listen to your body. Stop eating when you are satisfied. You will have more energy, and will enjoy the rest of your day so much more, if you’re not over-stuffed!

Help clean up! Burn calories and ingratiate yourself with your host by helping clean up after the meal. “One hour spent clearing the table and washing dishes while you’re standing can whittle off about 100 calories,” says Jackie Newgent, R.D.3

1 Gans, K. (2011). The small change diet. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
2 Zied, E. (2014). Younger next week: Your ultimate RX to reverse the clock, boost energy and look and feel younger in 7 days. Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
3 Newgent, J. (2014). The with or without meat cookbook: The flexible approach to flavorful diabetes cooking. American Diabetes Association.