Turkey Day Alert: Cooks “Nibble” Away Meals’ Worth of Calories

What the cook nibbled. Photo: Randy Mayor
What the cook nibbled. Photo: Randy Mayor

One of the cool things about my job as a registered dietitian specializing in media is that I get the opportunity to do some fun TV segments from time to time. On yesterday’s TODAY Show, I did a spot that was based on a great piece in the November issue of Cooking Light called, “What the Cook Nibbled”.

Written by deputy editor Phillip Rhodes, it’s an amusing and surprising look at what can happen when you indulge in a taste here and a bite there while preparing your Thanksgiving meal. Hoda and Kathie Lee were actually  very close in guessing the calorie counts of the foods we had on display. However as you’ll see in the clip, they were way off when it came to estimating the grand total. Yup! You can pack away a lot of calories even before hitting the dinner table if you’re not careful.

I don’t want to spoil any one’s Turkey Day. After all, this is a celebration that centers on food, family, and of course, giving thanks. But if you are watching your waistline, know that our pre-dinner taste-testing added up to nearly 800 calories. That’s more than a full meal!!

So what can you do to prevent a Turkey Day diet disaster?

1) Eat breakfast. I know… we say it all the time on this blog… but breakfast can be one of your best stay-trim strategies. If you eat a breakfast with fiber (think whole grain cereal), fruit, and some protein (yogurt, eggs), you’ll feel full for longer, and will be less likely to nibble your way to dinner.

2) Get moving. Make sure your Turkey Day includes some kind of physical activity.  If you can’t stick with your regular routine (yes… I am assuming you have one. If you don’t, go get one!) then instead of watching football all day, get out and start your own game. Not only does this burn calories, but a well-executed tackle is a great way to vent your hostility towards those annoying in-laws! (Just kidding… well… not really.)

3) Drink in moderation, if at all. Booze is not calorie-free.

Enjoy and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!



  1. says

    This is exactly what I do! No wonder I’m never hungry when dinner is ready. I know some RDs recommend having baby carrots, chopped fresh fruit out when they’re cooking and that’s all they try to eat when cooking. It’s a smart solution.

  2. says

    What a great video to share! I do this ALL the time, just with regular cooking because I know it’s important to taste the food as you cook, so I always realize when I actually sit don to eat I’m not that hungry – I’m trying to pay more attention to that now…thanks!

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