Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to enjoy friends and family, but we all know what the holiday is really about: food. Freshmen supposedly gain 15 pounds in their first year at school, and a good five of those pounds come from going home for Thanksgiving and eating like they have never tasted anything but dining hall food before. However, there are ways to avoid going up a pants size (or two) when returning home for the holidays. These healthy eating tips will help you squeeze into your jeans without having to sacrifice your favorite foods.
Before your meal, make sure that you are not absolutely starving when putting food on your plate. The first step in doing this is staying properly hydrated. Stay on top of your water intake amid all of the meal prep craziness, and drink at least a full glass before you eat. The second step to curb your hunger is to take advantage of appetizers. While you are probably more accustomed to reaching for dinner rolls or cheese and crackers, remember that there is probably a veggie plate being passed around, which is a great way to set your meal up for success. Dining halls around NYU always have vegetable options that are high in fiber and low in calories which will help you feel full without increasing your calorie intake.
The biggest key to losing extra weight and becoming healthier is moderation. Although you may be overwhelmed with all of the food New York has to offer, it is important to remember how much you can really handle eating. Remember: you can always eat more food, but you can never eat less than you’ve already eaten. When you first load up your plate, make sure you have a balance of fruits and veggies to go along with your meal, and take only what you can eat. Once you finish everything on your plate, feel free to go for seconds, but save room for dessert. If you just can’t help yourself from piling a mountain of food onto your plate, try opting for a smaller one.
Another way to keep the carbs to a minimum is by using healthy substitutes. Instead of reaching for white bread, get a slice of whole wheat bread. For dairy, you can substitute whole milk with skim or almond milk, which will help you feel less bloated and will reduce your calorie intake. Pasta and rice are great options for students but can be replaced with quinoa for a healthier twist. Although it is important to stay healthy, you don’t have to limit your food intake or refuse yourself your favorite dish. As long as you remember to pace yourself throughout the meal and are conscious of what you’re putting into your body, you’ll be golden.
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