Disciplined Thanks

While celebrating Thanksgiving can be a lesson in gratitude, it can also be an opportunity for gluttony. Exercise your willpower with these virtuous reminders:

  • Temperance. The average Thanksgiving meal contains more than 2000 calories, but that’s good reason to avoid fasting before you partake. Starving yourself all day only encourages your appetite at chow time. Nibble on nutritiously dense foods so you’re not tempted to gorge when the bird is served. Scoop single helpings — you can still enjoy the flavorful fare without piling portions and succumbing to seconds. And moderate your alcohol intake.
  • Patience. Savor the meal by chewing well and taking your time — you’ll be better able to monitor signs of fullness. If you still feel hungry as you finish off the last morsel, wait 20 minutes before considering more — it takes about that long for your stomach to cue your mind that it’s really had enough.
  • Compromise. Whether you’re the chef or the guest, substitute recipe ingredients. Go with light and low–fat cheeses, olive oil instead of butter. Choose the most nutritious option on the table — pumpkin pie over a cream pie; fresh cranberries over canned jelly; whole grain rolls over white; sweet potatoes over mashed with gravy. And don’t forget the veggies, which should occupy more space on your plate than turkey.

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