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Get through Thanksgiving without feeling like an overstuffed turkey

Wednesday - 11/27/2013, 6:46am  ET

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Some Thanksgiving favorites are healthier than others, so load up on the nutritious staples, such as green beans and sweet potatoes. (AP)

Lisa Reed, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - With Thanksgiving just a day away -- and the holiday season tailing right behind -- there's no doubt that food is definitely on the mind. But you can get through the holidays without feeling like an overstuffed turkey with these tips and a post-Thanksgiving workout.

Eat regularly throughout the day: Don't skip breakfast, thinking you will do your eating later in the day. Restricting what you eat leads to overeating. So eat a healthy breakfast and lunch (depending on the time of your dinner), with foods high in protein and fiber to keep you full.

Enjoy your favorite foods in moderation: Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so you should take advantage of the special foods that only make an annual appearance. But that doesn't mean you should eat everything.

Select those favorites you want to taste. If you're craving pecan pie, go ahead and have a small piece. If you don't, you may end up eating too much of something else later.

Practice eating slowly: Yes, it's tempting to eat as many mashed potatoes and gravy as possible. However, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you've had enough food. At the dinner table, engage in conversation to slow your eating. Put your fork down and take sips of water between bites.

Stay busy: It's tempting to go right for the leftovers shortly after the big feast, but keep the temptation at bay. After dinner, keep busy with a walk, a bike ride, a game of football in the backyard, or even a workout. The, if it's been three hours, go ahead and make yourself a small plate of leftovers.

Drink plenty of water: If you're looking for a low-calorie drink, you can't beat water. Spruce it up with a twist of lime and crushed ice. Or, try iced or hot tea, flavored with cinnamon. Stay away from too much soda, tea, coffee and alcohol. All of these beverages can leave you dehydrated.

Choose the healthier Thanksgiving favorites: Some Thanksgiving favorites are healthier than others. Sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie are good sources of beta-carotene -- an important antioxidant. Turkey is a low-fat source of protein and iron. Cranberries, applesauce, green beans, corn and potatoes are all nutritious. Go easy on the breads, gravies, rich desserts and sauces.


The day after Thanksgiving, get right back into the swing of a healthy lifestyle with this "burn the bird" interval workout -- an activity for the whole family. Have everyone start in a single-file line down the sidewalk. Begin moving, with the person in the front of the line setting the pace -- you can run, sprint or walk.

Then, have the person in the back of the line move to the front of the line and set a new pace. Repeat until you have either reached 30 minutes or completed two miles. This is a fun way to bond as you exercise. Try high-fiving your family members as you run past, treat them to a full sprint, or goof-off and perform lunges down the line to the front.

Or try this workout when traveling for the holidays:

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Lisa can provide tailored strength training workouts, in-home personal training or group fitness at your office. She also has a circuit training DVD that includes six different workouts, as well as abs and stretching. In addition, Lisa provides nutrition programs designed to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Read more about Lisa at www.lisareedfitness.com. Follow @lisareedfitness on Twitter.

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