Thanksgiving waves the banner as being the best home-cooked meal of the year and is certainly to be enjoyed. Yet no one enjoys leaving the dining table feeling bloated. So, here's my strategy.
Following these tips will help you avoid feeling like a stuffed turkey during the delicious holidays!
- Don’t fast prior to the holiday dinner. Eat a light, but healthy breakfast to help you avoid overeating at dinner.
- Don’t snack between meals on Thanksgiving.
- If possible, don’t schedule your largest meal in the evening.
- Instead of setting out salty snacks, candy and fattening dips and cheese spreads prior to the big meal, set out a bowl of fresh fruit.
- Watch what you drink. Like desserts, punches, alcohol, sodas and cappuccino beverages are high in sugar, not the healthiest choices, and will pack on the pounds. Drink plenty of spring water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange wedges between and during meals. Brew green tea and sweeten with stevia or serve a crockpot of spiced tea or apple cider.
- Savor the conversation around the table as much as the meal.Eat slowly. Don’t rush through the meal. It took hours to prepare it, make it last.
- Start your meal with a fresh green salad or steamed kale salad.
- Turkey won’t do a number on your waistline. Add it to your plate next.
- That bloated feeling often comes from eating casseroles, which are easily piled on the plate and quickly consumed. Serve whole foods that require more chewing, to avoid overeating, such as fresh apple or pear salad, roasted and seasoned red or sweet potatoes, acorn squash, steamed broccoli, or carrots.
- Go light on the toppings. Don’t drown your food with fattening gravy and sauces or salad dressings. Use vinaigrette instead of creamy salad dressings.
- Precut sticks of butter into individual servings to avoid over consumption and wastefulness.
- When cooking, don’t add sugar to your biscuits or vegetables. Sugar stimulates the appetite, encouraging you to overeat. Limit the carbs you add to your plate and your bread intake to one roll or slice. Serve real sour dough, rye or sprouted grain bread instead of non-nutritious white breads.
- Wait 10 minutes after eating the food on your plate, before deciding to take seconds or have dessert. It takes that long for your stomach to tell your brain that you’re full.
- Take a break between the meal and dessert. Plan a walk or outdoor activity after the meal. If your guests know a walk, etc. is scheduled after the meal they’ll be less apt to overeat.
Thanksgiving is by far the tastiest meal of the year and our family’s favorite. Here’s to healthy eating, until satisfied, but not stuffed. With a plan in mind, we can all leave the table without feeling guilty or miserable. Enjoy!
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.