Nov. 28 --
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Ready, set, eat.
On Thanksgiving Day, the average American will consume 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat at the average holiday feast, according to a tally provided by the American Council on Exercise.
That's the caloric equivalent of 5.5 Big Macs from McDonald's, or 15 Supreme Tacos from Taco Bell, according to ACE.
But even if just these facts make you feel stuffed, you still don't have to go cold turkey on the turkey and trimmings to eat healthily.
There are ways to minimize calories and still keep the flavor and fun, said Ruth Frechman, a registered dietitian in Burbank, Calif., and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Step one is awareness on how a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can add up to more than 3,000 calories, she said. She breaks it down the following way:
Grand tally: 3,501 and 170 grams of fat, a bit above the ACE calorie estimate and a bit below its fat gram prediction.
"The average Thanksgiving meal would be between 2,500 and 4,000 calories," Frechman said. Clearly, that's much more than the average person needs, but with a little restraint and keeping it to a one-day splurge, not that much damage will be done, she added.
"If you know you are going to overeat, balance it with physical activity," Frechman said. "Try to incorporate other things besides eating, such as going for a walk before or after dinner."
Another winning strategy: take a smaller portion of everything so you won't feel deprived, she said.
And keep the day's most important goal in mind.
"The purpose of this is to get together with family and friends, so focus more on the socializing than the food," Frechman said.
To learn more about healthy eating, visit the American Dietetic Association.
Gobbling Wisely on Turkey Day:
Staying healthy and on track on Thanksgiving isn't impossible. Just exercise some restraint, learn a few cooking tricks and build activity into your holiday rituals, suggested Marisa Moore, a registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
SOURCES: Marisa Moore, R.D., registered dietitian, and American Dietetic Association spokesperson, Atlanta; Ruth Frechman, R.D., registered dietitian, and American Dietetic Association spokesperson, Burbank, Calif.; November 2008 news release, American Council on Exercise, San Diego