"The average Thanksgiving meal comes in at around 3,000 calories," says Jordon Carroll, a New York City diet guru who has counseled celebrities like Barbara Walters. "I've had clients gain 15 pounds over that one weekend. In four days! Then it triggers them to overeat for the rest of the winter."
Carroll's approach to weight loss stresses portion control, so Thanksgiving is a monumental challenge. She says, "I tell my clients to look at all of the dishes on the table, decide what they want to have in advance and fill their plate only once. If they want everything, they should just take a little bit of each dish." And she reminds them to eat as slowly as they can.
Yet on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, Carroll still gets panicked phone calls from clients who ate too much. She tells them, "It's like a 12-step programone day at a time." And she suggests they get back to a healthy diet centered around light but satisfying dishes like the ones here, created by F&W's Test Kitchen and inspired by Carroll's favorite family recipes: tangy quick-braised chicken thighs with celery leaves, deeply flavorful mushroom-barley soup and romaine lettuce in an oregano vinaigrette.
As for Thanksgiving leftovers, Carroll advises her clients to do what her family always did after parties: Arrange for a food pantry to pick up the food or take it directly to people living on the street. "It's a different form of Thanksgiving," she says. "Then, the excess food is gone, and you've done something really beneficent."
Jordon Carroll's Weight-Control Tips
On Portion Size "At restaurants, order an appetizer instead of an entrée. If you really want an entrée, ask the kitchen to wrap up half before serving it."
On Vegetables "To help bulk up meals and get clients to eat more vegetables, I tell them to eat two cups of salad most days with lunch, and then again with dinner."