If you’re trying to live healthily by exercising and eating right, the up-coming holiday season can pose some serious challenges. During any holiday—especially Thanksgiving—people have a lot of food put in front of them. Many times, it is way too much food for even the best of metabolisms to handle without putting on a few pounds. The question is, how do you enjoy the holidays without derailing your health goals?
During Thanksgiving, it’s easy to go overboard with the calories and consumption. Temptations of gooey pecan pie and dense sweet potatoes topped with crackly marshmallows make it seem impossible to be disciplined.
Here’s the thing — eating healthfully on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to skip all your favorite foods. If you’ve got your eating under control most of the time, go ahead and have a piece of pie — just don’t lose control entirely.
These tips can help you keep your willpower and your wits about you this Thanksgiving:
- Stick to healthy portions. Fill up half your plate with vegetables, fruit, and a whole wheat roll, a quarter of it with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and a quarter of it with turkey or ham. The more colorful your plate, the better – so get lots of leafy greens, carrots, bell peppers, and beets in your veggie selection. If you fill up on those lower caloric density and higher nutrition things, you’re going to feel full, but not bloated and tired.
It’s a holiday, so indulge a bit if your diet allows it. If you’re going to eat dessert, make sure you allot for the calories elsewhere – don’t go back for that second helping of marshmallow sweet potatoes; instead opt for the cranberry salad.
- Eat before you indulge. Don’t starve yourself during the early part of Thanksgiving Day thinking that you’re saving room or that this will make it okay for you to overeat later.
If you’re going to a Thanksgiving lunch, be sure to eat breakfast before. If you’re going to a dinner, be sure you eat lunch or have a snack in the afternoon. You should have your normal meals because whenever we get overly hungry, we tend to overeat.
- Substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones. There are plenty of ways to make Thanksgiving fare healthier. For mashed potatoes, consider mixing in chicken broth, herbs, or roasted garlic to perk up the flavor instead of adding in butter. For green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-fatty alternative, and instead of having cranberry sauce, opt instead to make a cranberry salad.
- Drink lots of water and take a walk after eating. Many times, when people think they are hungry, they are just thirsty. By drinking lots of water throughout the day, you’ll lower the risk of overeating. Keep in mind that alcohol not only has lots of calories, but it’s effects can also lower your willpower for keeping to your healthy lifestyle choices.
It’s also a good idea to take a walk after eating to get your metabolism going instead of lazing on the couch. Ultimately, you’ll sleep much better that night if you do a little exercise after eating rather that falling into a food coma.
All of us at VIPSurg wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving! We are here to help with your bariatric and general surgery needs.