Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and as families across the country stock the pantry and gear up to celebrate, some people can’t help thinking about the abundance of calories and lack of exercise that go along with this annual gathering. Often times the festivities aren’t limited to Thanksgiving Day, either. They extend through the long weekend, and by the time Monday morning rolls around, people feel they need to “recover” from all the excess eating and drinking. Hopefully, nothing like a trip to urgent care is needed, but such things have happened.
We all know that eating moderately over Thanksgiving is easier said than done. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, and before you know it you’re making a New Year’s resolution to live a healthier lifestyle.
Since people are becoming more health-conscious than ever, many are wondering what they can do to stay healthier throughout the holiday seasons, starting with the traditional feast at Thanksgiving. Here are five ways to do just that.
- Start with a healthy breakfast
People often think they’ll skip breakfast and “save their appetite” for the main event, but this can actually lower your metabolic rate and make it more difficult for your body to handle the large afternoon meal. By eating a healthy breakfast like oatmeal, fruit, fresh juice, or even a hardboiled egg, you’ll give yourself a boost of energy and avoid that “famished” feeling that often leads to overeating later in the day.
- Put more vegetables on your plate
It’s tempting to load up on the heavier things on the table — such as turkey, bread, stuffing and mashed potatoes. However, too much starch and too many carbohydrates are exactly what give you that sleepy, lethargic, uncomfortable feeling after a Thanksgiving meal. For a healthier Thanksgiving feast, try increasing the proportion of vegetable dishes on your plate, and eat only a small amount of turkey, potatoes, bread items, and other heavier foods.
- Eat slowly and avoid heavy beverages
People often eat quickly, wanting to taste and enjoy everything. This is understandable, but it does lead people to overeat. Eating slowly not only enhances the taste of food and makes the experience last longer — it also allows the body to send a clear message when you’ve eaten enough.
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are also a huge source of calories and will add to that “too full” feeling. By focusing on water before and during the meal (and perhaps saving that decadent drink for later), you’ll give your body more time to process the food you’ve eaten.
- Be active after the meal
Another reason why so many people feel sleepy and lethargic around Thanksgiving is the propensity to sleep and watch TV for long hours during the day, especially after a large meal. Instead, take a walk or engage in some other form of light exercise after eating. This will do wonders for your digestive system and keep you feeling fresh later in the day.
Enjoying the holiday to its fullest
By heading into your thanksgiving experience with these tips in mind, you’ll be able to get more enjoyment out of the holiday, and avoid the unhealthy effects of overindulgence. Happy thanksgiving!