Thanksgiving can be an extra stressful time for those of us watching the scale or at the very least trying to have healthy alternatives. Although the turkey is definitely in the healthy category (without skin) the rest of the sides just seem to destined to challenge us. If it isn’t the food that is the problem well-meaning relatives or friends may bring the challenge.
Many of us have to split our day among different households therefore eating two dinners. As one member shared one family the Mother likes to serve everyone and serves them exactly the same amount no matter what. Another member shared that a family member is offended if you don’t eat the dish they brought. These won’t be the first or only challenges you will face but be thankful that Thanksgiving is a Day of Food. Remember you do have a choice – you can choose to lose, choose to maintain where you are or choose to gain. None of these choices are wrong – do what works best to make your Thanksgiving enjoyable. Just remember give yourself permission and get right back on the plan the next day no matter what your choice.
Some tips to keep in mind that might help you on Thanksgiving (or any big family gathering):
- Eat smaller portions. Eating some of “Aunt Sue’s” favorite calorie/fat laden dish won’t add as many pounds to you and will go a long way towards appeasing her.
- Schedule time to get out and exercise. Take a walk with the family before or after the meal. Since many of us have to get up early to finish thawing the turkey or get things started – go for a quick walk before everyone else is up. Take that time for yourself then so you can enjoy family and friends later.
- Help out in the kitchen after dinner. Instead of sitting around watching football – move around the kitchen packing up leftovers or clearing dishes.
- If you are hosting the event – send EVERYONE home with leftovers. Less temptation for you if it isn’t in your fridge.
- If you are going to someone’s house bring a dish that is Weight Watchers inspired. I recently held a party where I made nothing but WW recipes – no one even knew and said how good the food was. I was able to enjoy too knowing I was eating healthier versions of those recipes.
- Remember things go better if you plan. Plan ahead as to what you will eat for the big meal.
- Know ahead of time what the point value for certain foods are (see list below). Remember your portion sizes (bring your WW serving spoons – not only are they nice looking but they will help you remember what is a 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.)
- Don’t skimp on meals that day. If try to save up points from breakfast or lunch you may find yourself too hungry by the time the big meal is served and you will more than likely go over on your points. Try to fill up on power foods earlier in the day so you stay satisfied.
- Use the Recipe Builder on e-Tools to take an old family favorite and make it healthier.
- Again, decide what you want to do today (lose, maintain or gain) – this maybe a day of food but it’s really about family and friends.
If this is your first Thanksgiving on Weight Watchers think of it as a learning experience. It is mine and I will take note of what worked for me and what didn’t so that next year I can improve my strategy. I wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Menu and Points Plus Values
- Tossed salad, 1 cup (no dressing) – 0 pts.
- 1 Dinner roll (no butter) – 5 pts.
- 1 tsp. Butter (regular) – 1 pts.
- 1 slice Turkey breast (w/skin) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
- Stuffing (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
- Ham (no glaze) 2 oz. – 3 pts.
- Ham (glazed) 4 oz. – 7 pts.
- Giblet gravy (1/4 cup) – 2 pts.
- Cranberry sauce (1/4 cup) – 3 pts.
- Winter squash (1 cup) – 0 pts.
- Mashed potatoes (1/2 cup) – 3 pts.
- Baked sweet potatoes (1 large) – 4 pts.
- Steamed green beans (1 cup) – 0 pts.
- Green bean casserole (1 cup) – 4 pts.
- Fruit cocktail (light syrup) 1 cup – 4 pts.
- Corn (1 cup) – 4 pts.
- 1 slice Pumpkin pie – 11 pts.
- 1 slice Pecan pie – 14 pts.
- Wine (4 oz.) – 4 pts.
- Coffee or tea (no sweetener) – 0 pts.
Today’s meeting focused on tools. Our leader made a very good analogy to stress how we all need tools to get the job done. She said when her husband needs to cut the grass he uses tools – lawn mower, edger, and blower to clean up afterwards. He couldn’t do a proper job of mowing the grass without these tools. We can’t do a proper job of losing weight without some tools as well.
Weight Watchers offers all kinds of tools to help us. Whether you prefer paper (Complete Food Guide, Dining Out Companion, tracking diary) and a calculator, using eTools or the WW apps on a mobile device – with these tools at your disposal you can’t help but succeed.
eTools has several sections I find helpful but my favorite section is the Recipe Builder. You can look up ingredients or if you have the nutritional information you can enter that into the calculator and then tell it how many servings the recipe make. eTools will calculate how many points in a serving. You can then add it directly to your tracker online. As our leader reminded us the other week – it is important to remember that when you cook fruits or vegetables it changes the molecular structure of them and therefore the points change. The recipe builder takes that into consideration. It has been very helpful for me as some recipes I thought I had weren’t as “healthy” or low point as I first thought. By using the recipe builder I know I’m getting a more accurate point tracking than I would if I didn’t use it.
A member at our Saturday meeting said she liked the Cheat Sheet section of eTools. Cheat Sheets can help you realize how where you are spending your points – the salad bar, pizza, breakfast, Mexican, and even cocktails. You can either drag and drop items and watch the points add up or use comparisons to see what you like compared to healthier options. I think this section is very big eye opener. Everyone thinks salad is not only a healthy choice but one that probably doesn’t have many points. You’d be surprised when you start adding things like avocado, croutons, cheese, grilled chicken just how quick those points increase.
Another member said she really liked all the great recipes. I agree. You can find recipes in the Food & Recipes section or in the Recipe Swap under Community. You’ll never run out of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks.
I personally love eTools and still haven’t discovered everything it has to offer. I’m sure there are more tools there that will help me with my journey. So if you have a monthly payment plan you have access to eTools – so add it to your healthy toolbox!
“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.” – G. Wellacher (the quote that ended our meeting today – just had to borrow it)