Experts: Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be a diet killer

Experts: Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be a diet killer
Experts: Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be diet killer

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A full 96 percent of American families gather each Thanksgiving for a feast, according to recent surveys.

For many it’s a food bonanza - while for others it’s the ‘death knell’ of their diet.

The average American typically consumes 3,000 calories for a Thanksgiving meal. It quickly jumps to 4,500 when you add drinks, desserts and appetizers.

Those figures come from the Calorie Control Council, which also broke down the calories for some of the more popular dishes.

Just a cup of Bread Stuffing comes to 350 calories, while four slices of roast turkey adds another 320. Then, if you want that gravy, a half cup equals 100 more. And, every cup of mashed potatoes delivers 237 calories, while a quarter cup of cranberry sauce has 110.

You can add 340 calories for two biscuits and another 285 for sweet potatoes. And finally, that slice of pumpkin pie will set you back 320 calories.

We spent some time talking with some grocery shoppers in Shreveport on this Thanksgiving eve, to hear what they thought of the fast-approaching feast.

And, at least the shoppers we met said they have no intention of dieting on Thanksgiving. That included April Carter.

“Cuz usually I’m like vegetarian and super healthy. But Thanksgiving and holidays I’m like, ‘whatever’.”

And fellow shopper Rodney Morris offered a suggestion for dieters.

“They’re missing out on an opportunity. (laugh) Yeah, you’re missing out on an opportunity to really enjoy themselves. So, no, diet another day.”

Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Experts say just keep portions small, like a tablespoon or less of each dish and think of it like free samples.

Other suggestions include using a smaller plate, then fill half of it with fruits and veggies. Finally, socialize away from food, to avoid snacking.

And just in case you were wondering, that old adage of holiday weight gain is real. That’s the conclusion from research at Cornell University.

That study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, also showed the weight we put on between Halloween and Christmas can take more than 5 months to lose.

The only silver lining: The average weight gain only comes to 1.3 pounds.

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