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A Dietitian’s Guide to Thanksgiving Day

Enjoy Thanksgiving without the food coma.
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Thanksgiving is finally here! I was recently asked how to best avoid that food coma feeling on this day when many healthy diet habits go flying out the window. Like all days of the year, the many choices you make all day long lead up to feeling good when you go to bed at night and when you wake up the next morning.  Here’s what I recommend:

Eat a hearty breakfast. Even on Thanksgiving, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Get your metabolism going with a balanced breakfast. For a festive, seasonal take on the first meal of your day, try my Low-Fat Pumpkin Pancakes or Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins served with fat free or low-fat Greek yogurt.

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Don’t starve yourself in anticipation of the buffet line. Start with a sensible breakfast, then have a healthy vegetable and protein-rich meal or snack during the day. If you feel super hungry going into the meal, you will overeat, consuming excess food and calories.

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Move! Whether it’s a run, yoga session, pre- or post-meal walk, get your endorphins going with something other than food. Better yet, make a traditional event out of it! Gather friends and family for a game of Twister, egg-and-spoon race, or touch football.

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Make half your plate colorful vegetables.  This helps keep your intake of starch and fat-heavy stuffing, potatoes, meat and gravy to an appropriate portion. Filling up on fiber- and vitamin-rich vegetables fuels your body instead of leaving you sluggish.

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It’s OK to wait for the leftovers. You will likely have another chance to enjoy seasonal goodies in the days to come. Fill just one plate with classic favorites or new and unique must-try dishes knowing you don’t have to have every single thing at this one meal.

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We are awestruck by how much we are thankful for. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to share our gratitude for all the blessings in our lives with loved ones. Focusing more on each person and less on the food will surely leave hearts 


 stomachs satisfied long after the last bite. We wish you and yours a truly happy and 



Photo via flickr user iandavid

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Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

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Suzanne practices as a Clinical Dietitian in Los Angeles, where in her free time she enjoys running, hiking, cooking and exploring Southern California (including frequent attempts at the stuffed animal claw machine). Recipes packed with seasonal flavors, conversation-sparking surprises, and easy prep work are her saving graces year-round. Check out her musings on delicious food and healthy living at

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