The average adult should consume between 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day.  The typical Thanksgiving Day meal is anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 calories (because you just have to stuff yourself until you tip over).  It is also estimated that 229 grams of fat will be eaten.

Jay Croy is a Registered Nurse at Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital

This Thanksgiving, over 675 million pounds of turkey will be eaten (where do they grow all those turkeys?).  Then, there is the dressing and mashed potatoes with gravy, Waldorf Salad, green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes, a roll with butter and pecan pie, and snack, snack, snack.

After you eat that great big meal, its time for a nap.  Well, turkey contains a natural sedative called Tryptophan.  But that’s not why you need that nap; that “food coma” you experience is actually the result of your body working overtime to digest all that food.

The average adult should consume between 2,000 to 2,400 calories a day.  The typical Thanksgiving Day meal is anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 calories (because you just have to stuff yourself until you tip over).  It is also estimated that 229 grams of fat will be eaten.

What happens to all that extra calories and fat?  Well, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.  If you eat 6,000 calories at your celebration and you only need 2,000 calories on a daily basis, well, looks like you gained a pound in one meal.  Then with the leftovers, and holiday cookies and cakes, and Christmas Dinner and partying on New Years, it is said the average person will gain seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Let’s see, what would the calorie count of a small serving of your favorite foods be of the menu above: 1,950 for small portions of turkey and dressing and all that good stuff.  But no, we can’t have small servings…we have to have BIG servings with seconds and thirds of our favorite foods.  Then there is turkey sandwiches for snacks at 450 to 600 calories each, and another slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream at 255 calories and candy, and chips and nuts and…
I can’t wait.

What can we do to cut back on those calories, but not cut back of all that scarfing of wonderful foods?  Well, there is always exercise: helping clean up after eating, playing Horseshoes, family walk or bike ride, raking up leaves.  My favorite is simply waking up from my nap.

For food preparation, use a sugar substitute like Splenda in your baking.  Cook with Skim Milk instead of whole or two percent; your mashed potatoes will still be as creamy.  Replace eggs with eggbeaters; you’ll save calories and cholesterol.  You can mix your own potato chip dips using low fat sour cream and regular mayonnaise.  Use whole-wheat flour instead of enriched white flour in baking.

While you are eating and snacking, drink plenty of water.  Keep your portions small; you will go back later anyway.  Make sure you eat your vegetables and fruit.  Just be aware of the volume of food you are taking in, but still enjoy yourself.  The most important thing to do on this day of Thanksgiving, enjoy your family, friends and traditions.  Be thankful for what we have for not all those around the world are not as lucky as we.