It’s festive and pleasant to indulge on Thanksgiving with family and friends.
But it’s not so nice when you’re as stuffed as the turkey—and end what should have been a lovely day feeling uncomfortable, sleepy and unhealthy.
You can have your delicious meal without feeling like a turkey.
Here are some tips if you overindulged on Thanksgiving this holiday season:
1. Have a game plan.
This year, take a few minutes the day before Thanksgiving to come up with a strategy for enjoying the day without eating more than you intend to. Maybe you ditch the soda or bread (because those are available all year long) and give yourself a bit more wiggle room to indulge in once-a-year treats like your mom’s pumpkin pie or your favorite sweet potato casserole.
2. Start the day with a small, healthy breakfast.
You might think it’s a good idea to skip breakfast until it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner, but unless your body is accustomed to short fasts, your plan could backfire, making you so hungry that you bust into the cookies an hour before dinner is served. Here’s a better idea— start your day with a smaller meal, heavy on good stuff like fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates or protein. That could be an egg-and-spinach frittata, oatmeal with apples and cinnamon on top or a berry-and-yogurt smoothie with a handful of kale thrown in.
3. Stay hydrated throughout the day.
Your body can mistake dehydration for hunger, so make sure you’re well-hydrated before digging into your turkey and mashed potatoes. While you’re at it, fill up on the water-and-nutrient packed cucumbers, celery and peppers on the veggie tray.
4. Get a workout in before the festivities begin.
We’ll give you a pass if you’re the one preparing the big meal. But if you’re not, set aside a bit of time to walk, jog, lift weights, do a few sit-ups and push-ups—or even rake leaves.
5. Enjoy your food.
Take smaller portions, chew thoroughly and take time to chat with those around you during the meal. Enjoy both your food and the experience of eating it with family and friends.
6. Don’t throw in the towel.
We’ve all been there. You just ate two slices of pie and five cookies—way more than planned. It’s tempting to write the day off, eat whatever you want and then start fresh the next day. So we eat a bowl of chips, another piece of pie, two more sodas and a few chocolates. That’s about 1,000 more calories.
7. Be thankful.
It’s amazing to think of the bounty that we have at our fingertips—not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. Rather than wait till New Year’s Day, take a moment to be grateful for all the healthy food choices that we have—and take advantage of them.
No matter how good our intentions are, many of us need help keeping ourselves on track. For more health tips, subscribe to our blog.