Thanksgiving: We enjoy all the foods, wine and festive cheer of Christmas minus the stress of the shopping and if you are like me you weasel your way into multiple dinners (which equates to multiple leftovers). However there is one main downside to this holiday which is the calories. Now you know I say this all the time -- “make the right choices at the right times” so Thanksgiving is not the time to show up to dinner and deprive yourself but it is also not the time to allow yourself to over-indulge. There are ways to survive a turkey dinner while satisfying all of your cravings.

The first step is brine your turkey as this ensures the meat will be moist and juicy, especially the breast which is the leaner part of the bird (but also the dryer part requiring more gravy to help it down). Brining the turkey will help you stay away from the moist dark meat which is high in fat and also reduce the amount of gravy you pour out of your Grandma’s gravy boat. Also, adding different flavours to your brine (garlic, orange or ginger) can help improve the flavour of the turkey.

Second step is to cook everything using “clean” ingredients. A good quality olive oil, good salt and fresh ground pepper can go a long way. Add in some fresh herbs to your dishes and your dinner is bound to be full of flavour and nutrients but not overloaded with empty calories. My favourite recipe for brussel sprouts, from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, is simply steaming and then pan frying them in butter and sprinkling them with Maldon salt and fresh lemon juice. Delicious!

The third step is to put more of the healthy foods, like the vegetables, onto your plate and less of the not so healthy options including mashed potatoes, stuffing and candied yams. I am not saying stay away from all of the good side dishes completely but limit the amount you put onto your plate.

Number four is stay away from the appetizers. Why fill up on cheeses, olives or whatever else is being served before dinner? Start your day out with a healthy breakfast, a lean lunch, a good workout and a healthy snack about an hour before you arrive to dinner.  This will ensure you do not come to dinner famished but guarantee that you have a decent appetite to enjoy all that is about to be served.

Enjoy the wine, but do not overdo it and have some pumpkin pie but leave the whipping cream for someone else. Enjoy yourself but control yourself. As much as this holiday is about the meal it really is about being grateful for everything we are blessed to have: health, friends, family and love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Attached- Kirsten Dunst leaving the gym yesterday.