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Watch Those Hearty Helpings!

November 4, 2010
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Holidays are filled with good cheer and good food. But for many, the holiday season can lead to unwanted weight gain.

Members of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), know that making conscious food choices and practicing portion control can prevent excess weight gain. Healthy, well-balanced meal planning is a key element to successful and lasting weight-loss and maintenance.

A typical Thanksgiving dinner contains 1,200 calories. Modifying the menu to include recipes that are lower in fat and higher in fiber can reduce the calorie burden at mealtime.

Here are other strategies for keeping weight gain to a minimum throughout the season:

· Practice portion control.

· Choose skinless white meat turkey, instead of high-calorie and high-fat dark meat.

· Reduce the calories of the meal by loading half the plate with vegetables or fruit.

· Plan your menu to include salads, sides and lots of vegetables.

· Use a luncheon-sized plate for your meal.

· Wait 20 to 30 minutes before deciding on a second helping. If you're still hungry, choose a small serving of a fruit or vegetable with a glass of water.

The fat and calories saved by substituting traditional recipes with Thanksgiving makeover recipes are substantial. For example, with the traditional menu of a dark-meat turkey dinner with green-bean casserole, corn soufflé, stuffing, cranberry sauce and apple pie, a person can take in as much as 1,262 calories and 44 grams of fat.

Using modified, lighter versions of recipes can reduce calories to 778 and fat to 24 grams -- a savings of nearly 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.

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