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Eating healthy on Thanksgiving can be tough. Here's how mindful eating makes a difference.

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By MICHELLE ZHU, WACH

COLUMBIA, S.C. (CIRCA via WACH) — Experts say Americans will gain a few pounds during the holiday season. But a South Carolina dietitian says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With the right game plan, weight gain can be prevented during the holidays.

The holiday season is a time for families to indulge around the dinner table. Some are hoping they stick to their goals but with lots of food readily available, healthy eating can be a challenge.

Debbie Hoerner is a dietitian at Lexington Medical Center. She says people often skip meals before Thanksgiving to save calories and build an appetite. But there's a better approach.

"It's like when you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Everything looks good. Studies have shown that you'll eat more, over-eat, eat faster, and in the end, you're uncomfortable.

"So, I'm always asking my patients the million-dollar question: 'Are you really hungry?'" said Hoerner.

Dietitians say mindful eating is about being aware of how much you're eating. According to Consumer Reports, Americans typically take in more than 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving. But Hoerner says people should only be taking in 2,000 calories daily.

Which Thanksgiving side dish are you?

"Make sure you don't over-cook, because if you only have five people coming and you make 20 pounds of potatoes, you have extra, which can lead to over-eating," said Hoerner.

"The holidays are special times to get with family. But focus on that time you're spending, making memories and not so much on the food."

Don't know what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner? This quiz has the answer.

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