With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’m sure something we are all preparing for is the oh so familiar food-coma that follows the gluttony that comes with a traditional Thanksgiving feast. However, there are a few ways in which this guilt-induced indulgence can be managed without feeling as though you are missing out on any of the fun… and allows you to stay on track with your health and nutrition goals!
First tip, and debatably the most important, would be…
1. AVOID FASTING
It is common for people to feel as though fasting throughout the day may not only make “room” in their belly’s for all of Thanksgiving’s offerings, but another common misconception is that it will save precious calories for the ultimate binge. This becomes problematic because when we decide to fast for the duration of the day, it gives us the impression that we can eat as much of whatever is put in front of us. Because we are coming to the table with such aggressive hunger, we are more likely to eat greater amounts of food at a quicker pace, which delays the time in which our stomach’s can signal to our brain that it is full. This can lead to overeating and potentially cause us to exceed our typical caloric intake in one seating.
2. MAP OUT YOUR PLATE
During Thanksgiving, it is common for us to forget all the parameters of the physical plate. A really good way to avoid going overboard would be to map out your plate and allocate spaces for veggies, proteins, and starches so that you can manage the portion sizes. A good rule of thumb would be to add veggies to the plate first, then add the protein followed by starches, and then finish with fats so that when it’s time to add those beloved taters and gravy, the plate is already almost all full of hearty veggies and protein. If you are one to head back up for seconds (or thirds), make sure to give yourself time to decide if you’re truly hungry. Most of the time, our stomachs are full but we do not give it the chance to send that message to receptors in our brain before going for another helping.
3. TWO-BITE DESSERTS
This post wouldn’t be helpful if we didn’t address the overwhelming array of pies, cakes, and cookies that are accompanied by a Thanksgiving meal. In order to achieve a balance of indulgence and control, I recommend having two bites (because one is never enough) of a few dessert selections. This way, you’re getting a taste of everything but still only consuming one portion. If there is one dessert that really takes the show, have it! Have a slice of that long-awaited pumpkin pie and enjoy it, but allow that to be the star and try to keep your dessert to that one slice.
These are just a few of the many ways to be mindful of eating over the holidays. It is important to look for ways in which we can stay on track of making healthier choices and maintain a healthy lifestyle but most importantly, enjoy these traditions with family and friends.
Abigail Rudson, Tidal Nutrition Director
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