The standard Thanksgiving meal can be 3000 calories!Here's how to avoid landing in an energy ditch, beating yourself up for a week or two and holding yourself back from your fitness goals:

Choose your turkey first. Make sure your portion is the size of your hand, and call it a day. Enjoy every bit of it. Choose between stuffing OR gravy - honestly, why do you need two servings of the most fattening thing possible? OR, if you choose stuffing, (2 tbsp max please), and NEED gravy, have the one that I make that is made simply of balsamic vinegar, flour, and chicken stock. Fat free! See my poutine post for recipe. Take advantage of the array of vegetables available at this meal! Fill your plate with beautiful colours. If the potatoes / sweet potatoes are filled with butter and marshmallows (seriously, people do this), keep it at half a cup.

For dessert, have a small slice of what you must indulge in.

The trick is, slim things down where you can. You can still enjoy this meal fully, but if you want to stay on track you have to make some cuts here and there! We are not starving the way many people were when this tradition started, are we?? Skip the whipping cream, opt for milk instead of cream in the coffee, no sugar (if you have dessert), choose ONE starch with dinner and keep your portion in mind, and have only one helping. Just because it's a holiday does not mean you need 2-3 dinners - gosh.

And FINALLY, exercise! Get out for a brisk walk with your family, or get in a quick workout in the morning... if you keep your exercise up over the weekend, you'll be more motivated to keep yourself in check with your eating, and your butt will still be tight come Tuesday.

:) Have a GREAT time. You can still enjoy the food while eating somewhat clean, especially while in the company of great friends and/or family.

*feature photo found at: blog.homerenovationguide.com *internal photo found at: southernliving.com