. . . To prove he wasn’t chicken!
You probably won’t eat perfect, and that’s okay! Enjoy the day. How you eat on Thanksgiving Day does not determine your health; how you eat the other 364 days of the years does. Here are tips for making this special day healthier.
A common misconception before large meals is to “save” all of your calories for later in the day, hoping you’ll skip out on additional calories, but waiting until the evening to eat your first meal can have you heading to the kitchen with huge eyes and over-stuffing your plate more than normal. Start your Thanksgiving with a healthy breakfast full of protein and fiber. Think low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit, or whole-grain toast with eggs, to help keep you full throughout your meal prepping and your head clear when loading your plate at dinner.
After a large meal, your first instinct might be to head to the couch for football and dessert. But one of the best things you can do is encourage the entire family to get moving and take a walk in the neighborhood. Moving your body will help stimulate your digestive system and burn a few calories while getting some fresh air. Make time to sweat for 30 minutes. If you’re feeling super ambitious, many towns and cities host annual ‘gobble hobbles’ or 5K races Thanksgiving morning so you can begin your day with increased energy and endorphins, while kick starting your metabolism all day.
A common error when listening to your body’s hunger signals can be mistaking thirst for hunger. When we are not well hydrated, our bodies can have a surge of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, causing us to eat more than we normally might. Drinking water throughout the day can keep your ghrelin levels at bay and your body in tune. A good rule of thumb is drinking half your body weight in ounces of fluid (i.e 150 pounds divided by two = 75 ounces per day). If you aren’t a water drinker, try adding lemon to your water or having seltzer or tea.
Balance Your Plate
We’ve all experienced the “hangry” (hungry and angry) feeling after going without food, just as we’ve all experienced wanting to take a nap after a huge plate of Thanksgiving fare. Both those scenarios are your low blood sugar talking! Fortunately when it comes to a Thanksgiving buffet there are a lot of real food options to make balancing your plate easy. For instance, turkey is a great protein. (A rule of thumb for protein serving size is to look for cuts of meat roughly the size of your palm.) With the protein covered, look for quality fats and carbs for the rest of your plate. Thanksgiving staples like green beans, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are perfect options. Better yet, they’ve likely been cooked in butter giving you a quality fat as well. If they haven’t, grab a pat of butter and put it on top of any veggies you add to your plate.
Whether you’re on a special diet or just looking for a lighter option, below are a few examples of healthy Thanksgiving recipes you and your family will enjoy!
What sounds does a turkey’s phone make?