NCH is part of Endeavor Health

Learn more

News  ›  Fitness and Nutrition

Your holiday eating game plan is here

November 19, 2018

Rosemary Weaver, MPH, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center

Thanksgiving is almost here — the official start to the holiday eating season. If you want to ring in the New Year without some additional pounds, it’s good to have a game plan. Try incorporating these offensive strategies and defensive moves.

Offensive moves

Pass on second helpings. Limit yourself to a single, reasonably sized portion.

Play Option #1: Drink Smart

Have one non-caloric/non-alcoholic drink for every alcoholic one, and drink water in between; limit to two servings of alcohol per holiday.

Play Option #2: Starch Limit

For women, the limit is four to five starch choices; six to seven for men. Count each serving of bread, stuffing, potatoes, corn or small dessert serving as one starch. You’ll feel less bloated and save carbs as well as calories.

Out of bounds

That’s when your stomach is uncomfortably full. Make up your mind to stop eating and push your plate away before this happens. Tip: You won’t feel full until about 20 minutes has elapsed, so take your time with eating. Talk, put your fork down between bites and sip your water.


You should run from the kitchen if you have to sample every leftover while you’re packaging it up. Assist with another job instead.

Defensive moves


Give exercise your best effort, not just before and after the holiday, but regularly. Consider taking a walk after the Thanksgiving meal. It will aid your digestion.


You can pile on the low-fat, non-starchy veggies and salads. Help yourself to fresh fruit.


You should stay away from the appetizer or dessert table. Take a small serving and walk away. Focus on protein and veggies.

Man to Man

For every decadent side you eat, pair it with a plain, nutrient-dense one. For example, rich mashed potatoes with plain green beans. Be picky and limit the decadent sides to those you truly love.


Block any extra servings of gravy, extra pats of butter, fried foods and sugary drinks.

“Day After” Grilled Apple with Turkey Salad

Here’s a scrumptious and light way to use up leftover turkey for a “day after Thanksgiving” salad.

Serves: 6


  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup 100 percent orange juice
  • ¼ cup white or regular balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce (optional)
  • 2 large red apples, cut into ½ inch wedges
  • 1 package (5 oz) spring mix salad greens (additional if desired)
  • 1 ¼ lb cooked white meat turkey, no skin; cut in strips, chilled
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese (or substitute feta)


  1. For dressing, whisk together the first eight ingredients. In a bowl, toss apples with ¼ cup dressing.
  2. Place apple slices on a grill rack* over medium heat; reserve dressing left in bowl. Grill apples, covered until tender and lightly browned, three to four minutes per side, brushing with a bit of reserved dressing. Cool.
  3. To serve, lightly coat turkey with drizzle of dressing. Toss greens with any remaining dressing.
  4. Divide greens and arrange on plates. Top with turkey strips, grilled apples, walnuts and cheese.

Notes: Use an outdoor or a stovetop grill to cook apples.

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350 degree oven for five to 10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition information

1 serving: 464 calories; 29.8 grams/fat, 76 mg cholesterol, 444 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate (3 grams/fiber), 27 grams protein