Is your fridge filled with Thanksgiving leftovers? Give them new life with these seven simple, smart and satisfying recipes! From a savory soup to the perfect panini, these delicious ideas are the perfect way to use up the rest of your holiday feast. Plus, these Thanksgiving leftover recipes fit perfectly into your Nutrisystem weight loss plan!
Thanksgiving leftover soup is the perfect way to use up the rest of that holiday feast! This delicious soup recipe can be prepared on the stove top or in your Instant Pot. It features the Thanksgiving basics: Leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, carrots and chicken broth. We also add in some onions, fresh herbs and spices for extra festive flavor.
If you have any extra baked sweet potatoes in your fridge, you have to try this Thanksgiving leftover recipe! They are the perfect vessel to stuff with your favorite holiday ingredients. This Cranberry Turkey Stuffed Sweet Potato contains two of our favorites: Leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. We also add in some steamed spinach to help you get in your greens, as well as goat cheese for extra creaminess. Yum!
Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast! These little breakfast cups feature leftover turkey and any type of potatoes that you have on hand. Whether your family enjoys mashed white potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes (or both!), you can use up any extras in this easy dish that features eggs, nonfat milk and pepper. They are the perfect grab-and-go meal!
Thanksgiving leftover casserole recipes are also a popular way to finish up your holiday feast. We know everyone has their own family favorites, so we made our healthy version extremely versatile. Of course, it features turkey but you can also choose between leftover roasted potatoes or cubed winter squash. Feel free to also throw in any leftover green veggies that you have, such as spinach, green beans or zucchini. Fresh cranberries add a tart sweetness, while dried thyme and rosemary provide the classic Thanksgiving flavors we all know and love.
You only need three ingredients to make these tasty breakfast cakes! If your family hasn’t finished up your Thanksgiving stuffing, you can use it to make breakfast the next morning. Simply combine it with an egg and some shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese. Form the mixture into patties and cook them in a pan on your stovetop until golden brown. Top each little stuffing cake with a cooked egg before serving.
What’s better (and easier) then turning your leftovers into a sandwich! Our hot and hearty Thanksgiving Leftover Panini is so good, we wish we could enjoy it all year round. Grab a whole wheat sandwich thin and top it with leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, Swiss cheese and some lettuce. Throw it onto a grill or panini press until the cheese is melted and you’ve got Thanksgiving dinner reimagined. It’s that easy!
Finish up those leftovers with a light and healthy salad! Turkey and cranberries come together with nonfat plain Greek yogurt to make this creamy, dreamy salad. You can use your choice of dried cranberries or cranberry sauce. Season with pepper, grab a fork and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner number two!
In case you”;ve missed the glaring lights and blaring commercials, it”;s official… the holidays are upon us. And Thanksgiving, with all of its food-based traditions, promises to put your weight loss willpower to the test.
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, a typical traditional Thanksgiving dinner can clock in at 3,000 calories. Add some apps and drinks, and you’ve got yourself a 4,500 calorie meal–;that’s more than two times the average daily intake. This same source reports that the average Thanksgiving enthusiast may fill up on close to 230 grams of fat–;the fat equivalent of three sticks of butter.
But with a little planning, you can make it through Thanksgiving without putting on more stuffing. Check out these 23 simple strategies that are sure to help keep the “;trim”; in your turkey day:
1. Don”;t skip breakfast
Don”;t “;save space”; for dinner. We all know what happens when we don’t eat all day–;we become ravenous and are more likely to gobble up everything in sight. Plus, when it comes to weight loss, the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day may very well hold true. In a study in the journal Obesity, overweight people who were dieting and ate more calories for breakfast than dinner lost more weight compared with subjects who ate larger evening meals. Make sure to opt for a morning meal that”;s high in protein like an egg white veggie omelet or non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit–;this will help keep you feeling fuller as you head into the potential diet dark hole that is Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Work in a workout
Be sure to get a good sweat session in before you dive in to dinner. A study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Physiology revealed that vigorous exercise may suppress a key hunger hormone for up to 30 minutes after workouts and can increase the levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone for as long as three hours after exercise. Not convinced? Get this: A 2013 study published in the journal Neuroreport revealed that participants who exercised craved healthier foods, like fiber-rich beans and veggies rather than those packed with refined sugar (think cookies and cakes). The researchers discovered that physical exercise may be linked to reduced activity in the food-responsive reward regions in the brain which, in turn, are linked to a reduced preference for unhealthy high-calorie foods.
3. Don”;t pick as you prep
A tiny taste here, a tiny taste there. Before you know it, you”;ve consumed a meal”;s worth of calories. You don”;t normally pick all day long, right? So don”;t start now. Eat your regular meals at your regularly scheduled times and limit your splurges to small selections at dinner time. Your waistline will thank you.
4. Bring a helping of healthy
Volunteer to bring a side of roasted veggies, fresh salad or fruit tray, so that if all else fails, you”;ve got one healthy option to pile on your plate! Try these delicious Brussels Sprouts with Apple–;they”;re simple to make and totally guilt-free.
5. Drink water before and during your meal
In a study published in 2015 in the journal Obesity (Silver Springs), participants who drank 500 milliliters of water 30 minutes before a meal lost more weight than those who did not drink up prior to chowing down. But don”;t limit your liquids to the time before your meal. Sip water throughout your Thanksgiving meals to keep you feeling fuller and slow down your gobbling.
6. Nix the rolls
Pass on the bread bowl and you could save yourself anywhere from 100 to 200 calories, plus the 100 calories in the butter you would have slathered all over it. With so much food at your disposal, we doubt you”;ll even miss it.
7. Use a smaller plate
A study published in 2015 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews revealed that when people–;even the health conscious–;were given larger plates, they consistently consumed more food than those using smaller plates. The same held true for non-alcoholic beverages consumption–;the larger the glass, the bigger the gulps. Opt for a smaller plate at dinner and chances are good you”;ll stick to smaller portions.
8. Veg out
Time and again research confirms that high-fiber foods, which provide volume in the body and take longer to digest, help you feel full longer–;on fewer calories. Help yourself to high-fiber foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains and bean dishes. Just don”;t fall for dishes drenched in butter or creamy sauces, which can be loaded with calories and fat.
9. Fine-tune your turkey selection
For many, it just wouldn”;t be Thanksgiving without the taste of turkey. Just make sure to opt for white meat, and don”;t eat the skin. With this simple swap, you could save 7 grams of fat and over 50 calories (for a serving size that”;s roughly equivalent to a deck of cards). Might not sound like a lot, but tiny trimmings like these can pile up quickly.
10. Put your fork down between bites
Based on a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, increasing the number of chews during meals can extend the duration of those meals, reduce the speed at which people eat, and lead to less food consumed. Make an effort to put down your fork and chew your food several times before diving in to your next bite. Bonus: You”;ll actually taste all of those fabulous flavors when you slow down!
11. Be a ‘Chatty Cathy’
The more you talk, the slower you”;ll eat. The slower you eat, the better the chances of your body signaling it is full before you overeat. See #10.
12. Be mindful of extras
Between the gravy, butter and creamy dressings, Thanksgiving add-ons can be total fat traps. Try seasoning your food with spices and herbs, and opt for vinegar-based dressings.
13. Don”;t drink your calories
A 12-ounce bottle of pumpkin beer is somewhere in the 200 calorie range. A five ounce glass of spiced apple wine can clock in at 271 calories. Think you”;ll save tons of calories avoiding alcohol? Not exactly. A 16-ounce glass of apple cider can cost you almost 230 calories. Wash down your meal with water (see #5), sparkling water, tea or coffee instead and your waistline will thank you.
14. Step away from the table
Once you”;ve eaten a normal-sized dinner, kindly remove yourself from the table so you don”;t start mindlessly munching. Head to another room in the house or better yet, engage in some good old fashioned family fun (see #15 and #16!).
15. Start an active tradition
Holidays are all about traditions, right? Start a new ritual, like a family football game or a group stroll around the neighborhood. Studies have shown that going for a walk instead of hitting the couch, about 15 minutes after a meal may improve digestion and blood sugar control, and will burn some extra calories. Plus, stepping away from the table for a bit may save you from diving into another pile of potatoes.
16. Focus on the fun
Take the focus off of food and put it back where it belongs–;on spending quality time with your loved ones. Bring board games or DVDs. Share in a few rounds of post-dinner charades. Or gather up the troops and hit the local soup kitchen to help serve dinner to the less fortunate. Forget the food–;there”;s fun to be had!
17. Wait 20 minutes before even considering seconds
Stick to this rule of thumb: If you”;re still hungry after 20 minutes (the commonly accepted amount of time it takes for your stomach to send your brain the “;I”;m stuffed”; signal), you can go back for seconds.
18. Ask the hard questions before heading back for more
Before hitting the buffet for a second round, ask yourself if you”;re really hungry. Sometimes just seeing a large spread can make us eat more. In fact, in a study published in 2005 in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, when moviegoers were provided stale popcorn in big buckets, they ate 34 percent more than those given the same stale popcorn in smaller tubs. In the case of fresh popcorn, those given large tubs ate almost 50 percent more than those given medium-sized buckets. If you aren”;t just being thrown off by a sizable spread, ask yourself: If I could have seconds of just one dish, which would it be? Then opt for that option only.
19. Skip seconds if you plan on doing dessert
Survey the food scene before you dive in for seconds, and map out a strategy. If grandma”;s rhubarb pie is on your radar, don”;t stuff your face with more stuffing. If you yearn for candy yams year-round, don”;t get chummy with the crumb cake. Decide on one or two indulgences you”;d like to try ahead of time, and don”;t eat everything in sight before you get to them.
20. Don”;t be guilted into gobbling
While it”;s nice that aunt so-and-so brought her world-famous pie, that doesn”;t mean you have to eat it. If you”;re going to enjoy foods you might normally avoid, make sure you do the picking. Feel uncomfortable refusing? Tell your aunt you”;re too stuffed but you”;ll take it to-go. If you”;re lucky, she”;ll forget, if you”;re not so lucky and she piles on the pie, give a loved one your leftovers.
21. Fill up on fruit for dessert
Remember how we told you to bring healthier dishes (see #4)? A fruit tray is a great option. That way, when everyone else is pigging out on apple pie, you can enjoy some fresh apple slices with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
22. Leave the leftovers
If you can get away with it, leave the doggy bag for the other diners. While one day of indulging won”;t destroy your diet, several in a row certainly can. Pass on the extra potatoes and remove all temptation tomorrow.
23. Don”;t miss the point-;family!
We bet that this time next year you won”;t even be able to recall what exactly you ate at Thanksgiving this year. The taste of dessert is fleeting; memories with your family are forever. Take this time, when there is no work or school or real life to worry about, and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. Cherish the company, not the food.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. If you’re a woman looking to lose weight and become the healthiest version of yourself, we’ve got a few simple tips to help! While eating a healthy diet and finding time for exercise are key to shedding extra pounds, you can also make some tiny tweaks to your routine to help you reach your goals. These 10 metabolism-boosting tips for women include small changes that you can make to your meal plan, exercise and lifestyle for weight loss success!
We all love foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes and pastries. However, your metabolism burns more calories when you”;re digesting protein. In fact, eating protein increases your metabolic rate by 15 to 30 percent, compared to 5 to 10 percent for carbs and 0 to 3 percent for fats, according to the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. Be sure to include healthy, lean forms of protein with your snacks and meals. The best sources of protein are PowerFuels, such as eggs, chicken, canned tuna and peanut butter.
2. Maintain Muscle
Men”;s bodies tend to have a higher percentage of muscle than fat, while women are the opposite. “Because muscle burns more calories than fat, men may be able to burn more calories at rest than women,” says the Office on Women”;s Health. Overweight women who regularly do resistance training have been shown to maintain more muscle mass and have higher metabolism rates than women who do just aerobic exercise (such as walking), according to a study, published in the journal Obesity.
Lifting weights is just one form of resistance training. Simple squats, lunges and push-ups also build muscle and you can do them anywhere. Not ready to do standard push-ups? Try them while standing up with your hands pushing against the wall or a counter instead of the floor.
Boost Weight Loss and Improve Sleep with this Before-Bed Exercise Routine
There’s no question that exercise can increase your metabolism. Daily walks for 30 minutes–;all at once or in 10-minute segments throughout the day–;can burn about 178 calories in a 185-pound person, says Harvard Health Publishing. Add a hill or a stairway to your route and you can turn up your metabolism by almost 15 percent, according to study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
4. Stand Up
Many of us spend too much time sitting at desks or at workstations all day long. Standing up keeps your metabolism more active. In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing at work can burn an extra 174 calories, according to the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
5. Stay Hydrated
Your body needs a constant supply of water to burn calories and fuel your metabolism. Drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 30 percent for about an hour. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature, say researchers who shared their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Be aware that you can be mildly dehydrated and not feel thirsty. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism slows down.
6. Eat Often
Research suggests that eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day promotes greater weight loss and maintenance. That’s because it keeps you satisfied and prevents you from getting too hungry. However, it may also play a role in metabolism.
According to Duke University Health System, “Duke research finds that overeating can also change your metabolism -; meaning how the cells in your body process the food you consume -; and that can lead to chronic health problems including diabetes. Smaller, more frequent meals are optimal, the researchers say.” They recommend consuming smaller, more frequent meals to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
“Mini-meals can aid in satisfying the appetite, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and providing nutrients to the body throughout the day. Smaller, more frequent meals in your daily eating patterns also can aid in a more efficient metabolism compared to a slower metabolism when meals are skipped,” says Cleveland Clinic. On the Nutrisystem program, you’ll eat every two to three hours for a total of six times a day.
The caffeine in your daily cup of coffee can boost your metabolism by up to 11 percent, according to research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Just be sure you don”;t undermine the benefits of coffee by loading your cup with high-fat creamers or sugary flavorings. Black coffee is a Free Food with your Nutrisystem weight loss plan.
8. Go Green
Green tea is high in many helpful nutrients, including a group of unique substances known as catechins. They are antioxidants, which protect your body from “;free radicals,”; rogue cells that are linked to a variety of ailments. Catechins have also been shown to increase the metabolism and specifically trigger your body to burn fat, says the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Consumption of green tea extracts has been shown to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure, particularly if combined with a metabolic stimulant such as caffeine,” says researchers. Just like with coffee, unsweetened green tea is a Free Food on Nutrisystem.
9. Get Spicy
The ingredient in hot peppers that gives them their zing, capsaicin, not only warms your body but may also turn up your metabolic rate. According to Healthline, “Researchers believe that capsaicin is a thermogenic chemical. A thermogenic chemical may help speed up your metabolism and decrease your appetite.” You don”;t have to eat raw peppers to get the benefits of this spicy kick. Spice up your menu by sprinkling your food with hot sauce, cayenne powder or dried red pepper flakes–;they”;re all calorie-free so you can use as much of them as your taste buds like.
For many busy women, the days start early and end late. To keep your metabolism working steadily, you need to consistently get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. When you regularly sleep less, it disrupts your body”;s levels of leptin and ghrelin, the two hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism, says the International Journal of Endocrinology. Even better, a good night”;s sleep prepares you to take on another full day of responsibilities.
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It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Which, for many of us, means total diet destruction is officially on the horizon. But here’s the thing: You can still enjoy all the deliciousness of this food-heavy holiday without committing to an entire season of stretchy pants. Find all the guidance you need to get your fill of the festivities (and the food!) with our ultimate guide: 23 Ways to Lose Weight This Thanksgiving.
And show up to your gatherings with any of the guilt-free Thanksgiving recipes below. They’re delicious and on-plan. So you can enjoy the festive fare without ever having to worry about sabotaging your slim-down.
These Garlic Herb Mashed Faux-tatoes sub potatoes with cauliflower for a lightened up take on a seasonal staple. Want to make mashed cauliflower without the time commitment of the crock pot? Check out this alternative cooking method for this delicious dish.
Who needs sugar anyway? Not this delicious Slow Cooker Applesauce. It just might be the easiest recipe on this list. But that definitely doesn’t mean it’s the least flavorful! Serve it right out of the slow cooker for a warm and cozy comfort food you won’t regret eating tomorrow.
Give traditional turkey dishes a break and try this Butternut Squash Turkey Chili. Packed with all of fall’s finest flavors, it’s a satisfying soup known to prompt some bowl-licking around these parts!
Butternut Squash Chicken Chowder? Somebody pinch us! This soup is overflowing with flavor and texture. Dive in to a bowl before the main meal is served, and you may just be satisfied enough to skip seconds later.
This pumpkin rice pudding combines two of our favorite things: Pumpkin and rice pudding. Your guests will love the scent of pumpkin wafting through the house. But that’s nothing compared to how much they’ll love eating it.
Are you starting to sense a theme here? We love butternut squash! That’s because it’s a seasonal staple that’s brimming with flavor… and nutrition! This soup might sound basic. But there’s nothing basic about the creamy texture and full-bodied flavor.
These Banana Nut Muffins are the perfect thing to leave out on the table for between meal noshing. Featuring just five simple ingredients and a whole lot of flavor, they’ll be a highlight of your holiday.
We all know Thanksgiving is often associated with the various side dishes that accompany turkey on our plates. These side dishes can sometimes sabotage our diet with the overabundance of salt, sugar, grease and a long list of not-so-healthy ingredients that are frequently used in the creation of these sides.
We’ve got some good news… you can still enjoy those famous side dishes and stay on track with your weight loss goals. We have created a perfectly printable recipe book that includes eight turkey-worthy side dishes that will allow you to have a happy AND healthy Thanksgiving meal. From the ever-so-classic Green Bean Casserole all the way to Baked Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole, these eight recipes are certain to satisfy while keeping those healthy lifestyles in check.
Don’t sacrifice your Thanksgiving favorites in fear of falling off track. Follow a few simple steps with a few simple ingredients and enjoy those famous (and delicious) sides with a healthy twist. Believe us, your taste buds will be in absolute side dish bliss from the sweet Honey Balsamic Glazed Carrots and the savory Slow Cooker Garlic Herb Mashed Faux-tatoes. Make all eight sides to share with your family on Thanksgiving Day, and you’re sure to be the hit for the holiday.