Don’t Get Stuffed: Tips for a Lighter Thanksgiving


The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. That is closer to a week’s worth of calories for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. How can we enjoy the Thanksgiving flavors without all the calories? Dr. Shillingford’s staff offer a few tips to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without the guilt and without feeling sick.

Skip the appetizers

If the Thanksgiving meal is what you long for, make sure your stomach is ready for the meal by skipping the appetizers.

Choose White Meat Turkey

Dark meat has more calories and fat than white meat. Turkey breast without the skin is a better choice with fewer calories. Consuming your protein first should be a priority on a holiday just as it should be on a normal day for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. Eat your white meat turkey first before consuming the side dishes.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and nuts sounds heavenly, but it’s packed with added sugar. The sweet potato is the flavor to be highlighted. Bake a sweet potato in its skin until it’s caramelized, and a small amount of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It will be sweet and delicious without all the added sugar.

Green Beans

Green bean casserole is a classic dish, but just as classic is green bean almondine. Steam green beans and then toss with a small amount of olive oil and slivered almonds for a simple yet healthy vegetable side dish.

Cranberry relish instead of gravy

By substituting cranberry relish for gravy, you save on the calories from the fatty gravy and also add healthful cranberries and oranges to your plate.

It’s all about the portions

Your lap band, gastric bypass, or gastric sleeve should naturally help you limit the volume of food that you can comfortably eat. But on holidays, it is easy to get caught up in the fanfare and eat more than you should. If you choose your foods well, and choose your portion sizes to prevent distention in your stomach, you should be able to avoid most of the many pitfalls associated with a food centered holiday such as Thanksgiving.

Choose a healthy dessert

If dessert is something that completes your Thanksgiving meal, then opt for a sweet but healthy dessert. Baked apples with cinnamon or baked pears with honeyed walnuts can be better choices than pecan pie or cheesecake.

Limit your drinks

Drinks like juice, wine, beer, or soda can add up in calories quickly. Try your best to stick with noncaloric drinks like water or sparkling water for the day.

Don’t forget to exercise

Go for a run in the morning, take a walk after dinner, get a game of touch football going. Whatever form of exercise you can fit into the day will help you prevent weight gain and feel better about yourself. Be the person to initiate the walk or the football game. Chances are it will help others around you avoid the Thanksgiving doldrums, too.

The above ideas are offered by Dr. Shillingford’s staff at his Boca Raton office for advanced laparoscopic bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A. is well known for his lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass weight loss surgery practice, which attracts clients from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and as far away as Georgia and New York. In addition to performing adjustable lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass surgeries, Dr. Shillingford also promotes positive lifestyle changes for his patients.

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