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Harley Pasternak: 5 Ways to Avoid Blowing Your Diet on Thanksgiving

Posted On: Saturday, November 24, 2012 • Leave a comment • Written By:

Celebrity trainer and PEOPLE.com blogger Harley Pasternak give his top 5 tips for a healthy, happy Thanksgiving. Plus, he shares some holiday recipes from some of his star clients like Jessica Simpson and Megan Fox.

Turkey, stuffing, corn bread, cranberry sauce, apple pie, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping: Thanksgiving has gone from being a day when we give thanks for everything we have, to a day when we EAT everything we have!

Studies show that people can eat between 3,000 to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving alone, which is, of course, a lot more than necessary on a generally sedentary day.

While I completely support treating yourself on Thanksgiving, I encourage you to be at least somewhat mindful about what you consume. Studies show that people tend to gain 5 to 7 lbs. between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I don’t want your health and fitness goals to be set back because of what’s supposed to be a joyous holiday.

Let this Thanksgiving be the first one in which the turkey – and not you – is the thing getting stuffed!
5 Tips for Making Thanksgiving Healthier
1. Walk it out!
The morning of Thanksgiving, go for a brisk walk. If you’re traveling to Thanksgiving dinner, park your car a few blocks away and walk the extra distance. After dinner, get some fresh air and walk around the block. Before you know it, you will have taken a few extra thousand steps, burned off your dessert and helped your digestion!

2. Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch
Filling up on “good calories” on Thanksgiving is key in controlling your appetite come dinnertime. Showing up ravenous to Thanksgiving dinner is never a good idea.

3. Exercise portion control
I know some think this is Thanksgiving sacrilege, but honestly portion control is the name of the game. First, start with a smaller plate. Smaller plates equal smaller portions. Next, follow the 3:2:1 rule: 3 parts veggies, 2 parts protein, 1 part whole grains.

4. Lose the booze!
Not only is alcohol almost twice as calorically dense as carbohydrates and protein, but your body stops burning fat as efficiently when you drink!

5. Take your time
I always say, life’s too short not to enjoy yourself on special days, and Thanksgiving dinner is definitely one of them! So go ahead and cut yourself a piece of mom’s pecan pie – but instead of shoveling it in your mouth, slow down and enjoy each bite.

Try Some of My Clients’ Thanksgiving Recipes
Jessica Simpson’s Broccoli Rice Casserole
The truth is that my client Jessica Simpson – who is looking amazing these days! – loves using Cheese Whiz. But I modified her recipe and substituted real light cheddar cheese to make this holiday casserole more healthy.

Ingredients
• 2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
• 2 cups cooked rice
• 8 ounces shredded lite cheddar cheese
• 2 (10¾ ounce) cans cream of chicken soup. Or you use 1 can each of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions
• Cook onion in oil in a large skillet until soft.
• Add remaining ingredients and cook just until cheese is melted.
• Put in 2 quart casserole dish.
• Bake at 350 (uncovered) for 1 hour.

To make ahead and freeze: Mix all ingredients together (start with your rice cooked, not raw) and spoon into two or even three smaller casserole dishes, cover, label and freeze. If you thaw overnight, just cook for one hour. If cooking from frozen state, add 10 minutes or so, check for doneness.
Serves 6

Source: People.com, thanks to Reesa!




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