(NEW YORK) -- The Thanksgiving holiday often means spending time with family, watching football or parades, and eating turkey dinner until your pants are at risk of splitting. But if you're concerned about literally busting a gut, we've compiled a few helpful tips on enjoying your Thanksgiving meal without the gluttony.
Should you eat a delicious turkey dinner with candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, bread and butter and a slice (or two) of pecan pie? Maybe not after realizing that you'll be consuming at least 1,813 calories, according to the USDA.
And that number excludes all the hors d'oeuvres and alcohol factored in. A single deviled egg can add another 77 calories in just a few quick bites and a glass of red wine means another 125 calories, based on USDA estimates.
A hearty Thanksgiving meal will likely come in at 2,092 calories, more than the 2,000 calories recommended per day for a moderately active woman between the ages of 26 and 45. For a moderately active man between the ages of 26 and 45, the recommended daily calorie allowance is 2,600.
Jessica Bennett, an registered dietitian at Vanderbilt University, said what she finds most concerning is that many people use the Thanksgiving feast as a way to kick off a holiday season of eating.
"What I see a lot is they enjoy it and make excuses all throughout the holiday and then want to start something drastic in January," said Bennett.
She said there are a few ways to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without feeling stuffed. Bennett recommends looking at the entire buffet before going in and only picking the foods you're most excited about.
She also cautioned against waiting to eat until the big meal is served.
"I would recommend having a small to medium size breakfast and lunch and having a healthy snack and some fruit and nuts," Bennett said. "Drinking water is another trick to help."
Bennett also recommends eating slowly, which can help your body signal fullness.
"If you eat fast you’re not going to get the signal that you're full," Bennett said. "Eating with your non-dominant hand can help you slow down."
Bennett said holiday weight gain is real and that people gain on average of one to two pounds per holiday season.
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