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Thanksgiving Gluttony Means Post-Holiday Guilt

The holidays are just around the corner and people are gearing up for some serious "chowing down." On average, from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, a person will gain 5 to 10 pounds, according to the Calorie Control Council (CCC).

But let us all give thanks there are ways to avoid weight gain through the holidays. Here's how:

The average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat from snacking in front of the TV football games and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, according to the CCC. And these figures don't even include breakfast or late-evening munching on leftovers!

Thanksgiving dinner alone carries a load of 3,000 calories. And most of us will nibble our way through more than another 1,500 calories downing dips and chips and drinks before and after the big meal. Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 2¼ times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3½ times the fat. In fact, the average person will consume enough fat on Thanksgiving Day to equal three sticks of butter, according to the CCC.

The American Heart Association offers the following low-fat holiday tips:

  • Eat lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods for days in advance of the holiday feast, and for days after.

  • Prepare for handling your worst temptations; if you want pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each, instead of an average serving.

  • If cooking, provide low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish.

  • After the meal, start a tradition — a holiday walk, for instance.

Chef and food expert Marilyn Harris offers other ways to cut back on the calories:

  • Use sugar-free gelatin instead of regular gelatin in your favorite salad (8 versus 70 calories per ½-cup serving).

  • Use fat-free soup in your favorite casserole (fat-free mushroom soup has 70 calories per ½- cup serving vs. 120 for the regular).

  • Use chicken bouillon to simmer the celery and onions for your turkey stuffing — instead of sautéing them in butter (one bouillon cube has 5 calories, a tablespoon of butter has 120 calories).

  • Try low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail (40 calories per 8 oz. serving) in place of the regular (140 calories).

  • Light sour cream (35 calories per 2 tablespoon serving) has about half the calories of regular sour cream (60 calories per serving). Fat-free sour cream has 25 calories per serving.

  • Fruit pie filling has 90 calories per -cup serving; the light version has 60 calories and the new no-sugar-added version has only 35.

Check out the Calorie Control Council's Web site at to find out more.

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