Thanksgiving is all about enjoying delicious food with family and friends, but it can also be tough to keep calories in check if you’re trying to lose weight. According to MyFitnessPal user data, people living in the Midwest and South tend to celebrate earlier in the day, whereas those on the West Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic eat later. Whether you prefer to eat a big meal midday or around dinner-time, it’s possible to eat a satisfying amount of food that meets your nutrition goals, while still indulging in a slice of pie.
One strategy is to choose smaller portions of the side dishes you love, and pass on the dishes you’re neutral on. It’s also important to start your day with a light, yet filling, breakfast to keep you from becoming ravenous by the time the big meal rolls around. User data shows 25% of a user’s calories are, on average, logged at dinner (and 30% at breakfast), but on Thanksgiving that number jumps to 60% logged at dinner (versus roughly 18% at breakfast).
Remember, “saving” your calories for a big holiday meal can lead to overeating once the food hits the table. If you can plan your Thanksgiving meal around lunchtime, then you can always come back to leftovers later in the day. This helps remove the pressure to cram all of the festive foods onto your plate at once and allows you to finish the day with a light dinner that packs in extra veggies and requires zero cooking.
This sample Thanksgiving menu gives you an idea of what a 1,500-calorie day might look like: