Imagine that the Thanksgiving table is set with all your favorite foods: buttery mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce so sweet it burns your tongue, creamy gravy, crunchy stuffing and best of all, turkey. If you’re like me, you’re already wiping the drool off of your computer at the fantasy of gorging yourself into a food coma. But, for those of you who’d prefer to stay conscious on turkey day, I’ve got your back with these stay-on-track tips to help you get through dinner without breaking your diet.

Eat before

While it may seem logical to spare your calories all day to save room for everything you’ll eat at dinner, it’s actually best to start your morning off with a light breakfast. With some food in your stomach you’ll be less likely to overeat at dinner, a symptom of waiting too long to eat. A healthy bowl of oatmeal is great choice and its high fiber content will keep you fuller, longer. Whatever you do, just don’t show up to the table ravenous.

Chia and Flaxseed Microwave Oatmeal

Photo by Becky Hughes

Run the Turkey Trot

Find out if your town is hosting a Turkey Trot 5k and sign up with your family. Even if you’re not a runner, walk the course and get your body moving before you feast. Adding some exercise into your day will help curb cravings and burn off some of the extra calories you’ll be eating at dinner that night.

Help cook

Butter and sugar are the staples of the best homemade recipes. Delicious? Yes. Nutritious? No. Volunteer to help cook dinner and re-create your family’s favorite Thanksgiving foods using healthier ingredients. Check out this article for some ideas of which ingredients you can swap.

Dry Heat vs. Moist Heat Cooking Methods

Photo by Tiffany Zau

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating, the practice of listening to your body’s natural hunger cues and fullness signals, is essential to prevent yourself from overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner. Leave the stuffing for the bird– begin eating when you’re truly hungry and stop when you feel satisfied, not over-full. If you know dinner’s being served around 4 p.m., plan to eat your lunch a bit earlier to save your appetite. Thinking of going back for a second slice of pie? Check in with your body first to decide whether or not you’re truly hungry.

Check out these article’s for some Thanksgiving recipe inspiration…