11/21/2013 05:36 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

How to Eat Less on Thanksgiving

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is the holiday when we let loose and, let's face it, binge. Turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, green bean casserole, rolls with butter and a big slice of pie can push you over your calorie cliff. Add to that sugary drinks and alcohol and you will probably consume about 2,500 calories for just one meal! Considering that 2,500 calories is more than most people need for the entire day, here are a few tips to help you eat less on turkey day.

  1. Don't drink your calories! Sugary drinks cause you to gain more weight than other foods. That's because they have a lot of calories but they don't make you feel full. And they cause you to feel hungry in just a few hours. Instead of sodas, juice or other sugary drinks, try sparking mineral water or unsweetened teas. My current favorites are Hint Fizz, Trader Joe's Sparkling Mineral water -- especially the berry flavor, and Tejava Unsweetened Black Tea.
  2. Fill up on vegetables and salad without a lot of butter, fat, or salad dressing. Try a baked yam without all the sugar, butter, and marshmallows.
  3. Choose small amounts of your favorite side dishes.
  4. If you are going to someone's house, bring along a salad or other veggie you like to make sure you have at least one healthy option to eat.
  5. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink. Not only does alcohol add calories, it also lowers your inhibitions making it harder to say "no" to that second piece of pie.
  6. Make sure to eat earlier in the day. If you are hungry and faced with all the yummy choices on Thanksgiving, it is harder to resist temptation.
  7. Go for a walk or do some other physical activity. While this will not burn off all the extra calories you may consume, even trimming 200 calories can help.

As we all know, the true meaning of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for what we have. Sometimes it's so easy to focus on problems that we lose sight of the good. Chances are if you are reading this, you have a lot to be thankful for. Last Thanksgiving tip? Tell at least one person what your thankful for.