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Don't worry, eat happy: Tips for smart eating this Thanksgiving

Thursday - 11/15/2012, 4:43am  ET

wine (Thinkstock)
One idea is to limit yourself to one glass of wine. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - Thanksgiving dinner may be the most anticipated meal of the year - but unfortunately, people can also anticipate the subsequent weight gain.

Here's and adapted list of 11 tips from The Dallas Morning News on how to avoid pounds altogether.

  • Breakfast: It's true. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Fill up on healthy calories early in the day and you're less likely to overeat during the feast.

  • Walk it off: A quick trip around the block is a great way to shed a few calories and catch up with the family away from the dinner table.

  • Libations: Slow down with the alcoholic beverages, they can easily turn a big Thanksgiving meal, into a 5,000-calorie extravaganza. Try water over juice, or limit yourself to just one glass of wine.

  • Snack smart: Healthy snacks, including veggies, fruit, hummus or salt- free nuts, will take the edge off pre-meal cravings and help you to eat smaller portions when the moment arrives.

  • Souped up: Seasonal soups, such as butternut squash or broth-based soups, are low in fat and make a great, yet filling, starter.

  • Substitutes: Try apple sauce for oil in your cake or bread recipes. You can even replace multiple ingredients with skim milk, low sodium broth, egg whites, sugar substitutes and olive oil.

  • Splurge a little It's a special occasion, so it's OK to have a few of your favorites if you balance it out. Have some vegetables with your potatoes, but avoid dishes with fried sides or marshmallows.

  • Petite plate: Grab a little plate or even shop for small plates if you host for Thanksgiving. A large canvas may tempt you.

  • Put down the fork: Savor each bite, set down your fork, sip some water and have conversations. Scarfing makes you more likely to eat more, so give your body a moment to digest.

  • Easy on the sweets: Try to serve a limited dessert spread. This way you're less likely to try everything and if you do, it's not so bad.

  • Turkey Trot: Look for runs in your area to get ready for the holiday. Two suggestions are the 11th Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger or the 24th Annual Virginia Run Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K Run and 2K Walk.

WTOP's Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow a href="http://www.wtop.com/?sid=&nid=710">@WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)