Thanksgiving has the reputation of being the holiday that makes you gain weight. Most people find themselves overly stuffed by the end of dinner, yet still reaching for a second slice of pumpkin pie. Fortunately, by following some of these nutrition tips you can avoid gaining weight and still get to enjoy your favorite holiday food.
1. Don’t arrive hungry.Many people are tempted to skip breakfast, as they believe they will be eating a feast for dinner. However, this type of thinking will set you up for failure, as you already assume you will be over-eating. Instead of skipping breakfast, be sure to eat something in the morning that includes a lean protein and stomach-filling fiber. When you arrive at your holiday festivity, you will be much less likely to over-eat. I recommend that my clients eat at least three egg whites, oatmeal with slivered almonds and an apple.
2. Vow to only eat off a plate.Often times, we pick at food and don’t realize that little-by-little it adds up. When we plate our food, it is much easier to get a visualization of how much we are really eating. Better yet, vow to only eat when seated at the table.
3. Bring a healthy dish.Holiday foods are typically full of fat and calories. By bringing a healthy dish, you can fill your plate with healthy foods and leave less room for the higher calorie foods.
4. Focus on family and friends.Sometimes on holidays, we make the error of focusing mainly on the food- we forget that Thanksgiving is supposed to bring family and friends together to celebrate what we are thankful for. Instead of hanging out near the food table, make it a point to have a conversation with each and every guest.
5. Savor each bite.Take time to enjoy your food. It takes 20 minutes for our stomach to signal our brain that it is full. Take sips of water in-between each bite or engage in dinner conversation to help slow down your eating pace. When we take the time to savor our food, we are more likely to stop eating when we feel full as we are more in tune with our hunger and fullness cues.
6. Take a walk.After dinner, gather your friends or family to take a walk around the neighborhood. Walking immediately after a meal can help prevent diabetes by improving glucose tolerance. This keeps your internal sugar levels more balanced.
7. Be picky about what you put on your plate.Studies find that more food is eaten during a meal containing a variety of foods, than during a meal with just one food (even if it is your favorite food). So if you really love pumpkin pie, have a slice of pumpkin pie. If you can’t live without stuffing and gravy, serve yourself stuffing and gravy. But if there are foods you can live without, such as mashed potatoes and pecan pie, don’t plate them. Serve yourself your favorite holiday foods and leave the rest behind.
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