Thanksgiving serves as the official kickoff to the holiday season. A season filled with family, friends, fun and FOOD. While I realize that most diets tend to slightly deviate (to put it nicely) during these feasts, here are a few ways that you can minimize the collateral damage that comes with those delicious dishes.
Keep a normal feeding schedule.
I realize use of the word “normal” is relative, but by this I mean getting up in the morning and eating breakfast, lunch and a snack as you normally would. Avoid skipping regular meals with the thoughts of saving room for later. This primes the pump for some good ol’ fashion holiday binging and all the insulin spikes, abdominal discomfort and guilt that comes along with it.
Don’t feel obligated to jam pack the plate.
Despite what it sometimes turns into, holiday feeding time is not a competition to see who can build the heaviest plate. Take smaller portions and don’t be tempted to get everything on there in one shot. Allow that turkey to be free range on your plate and breathe amongst the gravy pond, stuffing forest, and field of green beans.
Take your time, enjoy your food and if appropriate, the company. You can always go back for seconds. Before going back for an additional helping, relax another 10-15 minutes and converse with the fam. If that proves to be intolerable, take a timeout and catch a series or two of the traditional Turkey Day football.
The idea here is to allow your body’s built-in signaling mechanisms the time to do their magic. Many times you may find by waiting those extra minutes, you actually wind up feeling full and satisfied without the additional bombardment.
Go heavy on the bird.
Intelligently approaching the consumption of your macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) can also make a difference. As we’ve touched on in past posts, each of these macronutrients has a different effect on satiation or feeling full. Protein has the greatest effect, followed by fat, and then your carbs.
Take advantage of that turkey and ham and TRY to get the majority of your carbs from the veggies. (SIDENOTE: despite popular opinion, corn is NOT a vegetable, but a grain. Another topic for another post, but be aware and don’t fool yourself.)
I say TRY because I acknowledge that during these celebrations, the options are plentiful and mostly carb heavy. Feel free to indulge; it’s the holidays. Enjoy yourself and treat your taste buds.
Ultimately, almost all of the spread is going to be non-ideal unless you’re privied to grass-fed, free-range turkey, gluten-free stuffing, and organic vegetable dishes. The name of the game here is enjoyment with some degree of preemptive damage control.
Take a lap.
Resist the time coveted tradition of slipping into that upright food coma on the couch after dinner. Rather than taking a nap to recharge for dessert, grab a seldom seen companion and take a lap around the hood. Even better, help the maid…errrr MOM…clean up the mess.
Either way, this will allow you to burn some energy, making room for the excess energy you just consumed. Couple this with adherence to the previous tips and you’ll minimize the longevity of the insulin spike and inevitable, subsequent blood sugar crash which contribute to the urge for a post meal nap as if you just ran a marathon.
I’d like to close by wishing all of you out there a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all are blessed with the a sense of gratitude towards life and every aspect of it. As with all the posts, hopefully you can utilize a tip or two, or at least begin thinking about it.