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Thanksgiving Nutrition: Binge, Forget or Regret?

Thanksgiving favorites like stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pies tend to fill up our plates around the holidays, and any sign of a diet goes right out the window. But can a couple days of binging really affect your health?
Like many grocery stores around the nation, United Supermarket in Abilene is a madhouse on Thanksgiving eve, full of shoppers looking to grab those last minute ingredients before the big feast.

While fighting the current of shoppers, just making it to the cash register is the goal, and probably the last thing on people's minds? The bags of calories they're packing home with them.

"I think our meal is as healthy as you can be for Thanksgiving. It will be pretty healthy. I mean, everyone should watch their portions, even if they don't have health problems, but some people still pig out", says Allie Hughes, shopper.

It's Allie Hughes's first year making Thanksgiving dinner on her own, and while she's planning to prepare holiday favorites, she will also have her health in mind.

"It's the time family gets together so they just buy all different kinds of things and just go crazy and eat whatever they want", Hughes explains.
 
Most people have the classics on their lists, like the turkey and pies, and the majority of folks told us it's their one day to splurge and there's just not room for healthier dishes.

Health experts, however, don't agree with that notion.

"I would recommend using a plate and filling half that plate with fruit and vegetables, about a fourth with starch and a fourth with meat. Keep in mind, you only need about 500 calories in a meal", says Abilene Regional Medical Center Dietitian, Angie Lord.

Thanksgiving is also a notorious time for food related emergency-room visits.

"Every year at Thanksgiving time, we see people come into the emergency room who are having heart attacks, who thought they just ate too much turkey and fixings. Those heart attacks are a culmination of years of unhealthy eating", says Dr. Alley, of ARMC.

Indulging in a plate of comfort food on Thanksgiving, and perhaps a few days following, doesn't seem to be the problem. It's all those days between each Thanksgiving that add notches to our belts.

A few tips on how to lighten up the traditionally heavy meal? Dieticians say to start with a salad and be choosy with starches, like potatoes, rolls, and desserts. Either way, as long as you go back to eating fresh after Thanksgiving week, you might have turkey hangover, but don't worry about packing on the pounds with only a few days of indulgence.
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