3500 calories!! That’s twice what the average person should eat in a day!!! But it’s Thanksgiving and with so many amazing choices, it can be REALLY hard to help yourself. However, there are ways to eat and stay healthy during the holidays.
1. Eat like you would on any normal day.
And by that I mean eat breakfast, snack lightly, and make sure you get in healthy proteins, carbs and fats any time you eat. This way, you’re not ravenous by the time you sit down in front of the caloric stockpile that is Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Drink water. And lots of it.
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you need to stop all the good things you do for yourself every day. Drinking lots of water is one of those things, so keep on chuggin’ along.
3. Plate in sections.
Say whaaaaaa? Segment off your plate as follows:
- 1/2 Vegetables
- 1/4 Meat
- 1/4 Starches
4. Sample everything first.
And by that I mean only serve yourself a couple little bites of anything that you may want to eat. If you’re already full after that, then you’re done! However, if you do want seconds of anything, just have a little bit. And try giving yourself 5-10 minutes to determine if you’re full. Sometimes it takes our minds a little longer to catch up with our bodies, so give it a minute.
5. Step away from the table when you’re finished.
I know it’s exciting to see everyone all in one place, and I also know how easy it is to keep munching away when this feast is laid out in front of you. This is a great opportunity to get up, help with the dishes, or…
6. Take a walk.
Once you’re all happy and sated, take a walk to activate your metabolism and put that fabulous dinner you just had to work. Food is fuel, after all, so make use of it!
And if you’re cooking…
7. Use natural ingredients
I agree with Adam Carolla on this one (hear his thoughts on this in the sound bite below at 4:22, along with his cranberry sauce recipe). There should be no canned foods on Thanksgiving day. If the can opener sees any action on Thanksgiving day, you’re doing it wrong. On top of that, fresh, natural ingredients taste SO much better, AND they’re not full of the chemical nonsense that would drive your body haywire trying to metabolize.
8. Cook with seasonal veggies.
They’ll taste better so you won’t have to add a lot of salt and/or sugar to make them palatable.
9. Use whole grains when possible.
Total gimme. I love stuffing, but it’s obviously super carby and not terribly fibrous. However, by using whole grain bread instead of white, you’re adding more fiber and other nutrients which help your body regulate blood sugar and cholesterol.
10. Sweeten with applesauce.
Substitute half the sugar in a recipe for an equal amount of applesauce. It will still be sweet, but your body will better be able to use those sugars instead of storing them.
And a final tip:
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a fabulous anecdote that I like to bring back out every now and then.
See, a friend [of my mom’s] (who was a personal trainer) asked her when her food started to taste different. Confused, my mom asked what she meant. And again, her friend asked, after how many bites does the taste of whatever you’re eating change? And my mom realized, it doesn’t. To satisfy a craving, she only had to eat a few bites versus a huge dish. She just had to stop once she was full.
So think about that when you’re looking at those last few bites of candied yams: doesn’t it still taste the same as the last few bites you had? Of course it does. Are you full? Then stop right there and go enjoy the beautiful foliage, football games and family! After all, it is Thanksgiving, so spend some time on or with the things you’re grateful for!
So how do YOU stay healthy during the holidays?