Negative-Calorie Foods to Help Undo Thanksgiving Dinner

These low-calorie foods can help you lose weight
Negative-Calorie Foods to Help Undo Thanksgiving Dinner

At just 15 calories per cup, mushrooms make a great, low-calorie substitute for meat.

We all know that Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the healthiest meal you’ll eat all year, but the actual numbers may surprise you. If you’re anything like the average American, then you’ll consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day, and more than 3,000 of those calories will come from dinner alone — forget breakfast, let alone late-night snacks. We all know, of course, that the only way to “cancel out” your Thanksgiving dinner is by preceding and following it up with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some foods that can help you achieve your goals faster; some foods have more indulgence-negating ability than others.

Click here to see the Negative-Calorie Foods to Help Undo Thanksgiving Dinner (Slideshow)

Negative-calorie foods are foods that contain fewer calories than you will burn by eating and digesting them (meaning you’ll create a calorie deficit by eating them). Although you do burn calories by chewing and digesting food, claims about negative-calories foods tend to be somewhat exaggerated; celery, for example, requires a lot of chewing (and the fiber it contains is difficult to digest, which further enhances your calorie-burning stats) but eating celery will only burn about a dozen calories more than it contains, leaving quite a few calories standing between you and even one pound of weight loss.

On top of that, everyone burns calories differently. The size of your body (and the amount of muscle you have), your sex, and your age all contribute to how many calories you burn. That means that a muscular, 40-year-old man may burn a different number of calories than a slender 20-year-old woman, for example, even if they both perform the same activity.

If you’re looking for a few healthy foods that can help you lose weight after Thanksgiving dinner, though, negative-calorie foods and very low-calorie foods can help, especially those that are high in fiber (fiber helps you feel full and eat less). We’ve rounded up foods to try this year if you need help getting back on track after the big meal.


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If you’re not eating fresh pumpkin, you should be. It has just 30 calories per cup and you’ll get a serious workout carrying it home from the store and cutting it into oven-ready chunks. Plus, you don’t need to add much to pumpkin to make it delicious; a little salt and cinnamon is all you need to make a quick and healthy snack or side out of your favorite fall gourd once it's cooked.


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Kale is a great choice for healthy eating; it has about 33 calories per cup and its high-fiber content means your body will have to work harder (and burn more calories) to break it down.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

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