Ah, the holidays are just around the corner. These next few months are full of fun, but are perhaps the toughest time of the year to make healthy food choices. For most, Thanksgiving is about overindulging. Research shows that most Americans consume roughly 4,500 calories per Thanksgiving meal. That is enough calories to last most of us a few days! Hear this: It doesn’t have to be this way. You can consider not going overboard this Thanksgiving :).
The holidays also bring added stress. And, when you combine stress with sugar overload, that equals the dreaded “flu season.” It is no coincidence that flu season overlaps with sugar season: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
My suggestion is to practice moderation and go easy on the sugar this holiday season.
Here a few tips for a healthier Thanksgiving.
- Don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Skipping meals in order to “save your appetite” is a bad idea. You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by sparing some calories. Wrong. Frequent changes in blood sugar slow down metabolism and cause a variety of health problems. Studies have shown that blood sugar imbalances place added stress on the body and significantly raise the risk of disease. So start your Thanksgiving day off with a healthy, protein filled breakfast that will give you plenty of energy for a fun-filled day with family and friends.
- Don’t forget to exercise. Make yourself work for it! Take a hike or brisk walk with family and friends or make a quick trip to the gym. Exercise helps regulate blood sugar. Get moving. You’ll feel a lot better.
- Have a plan. The best way to achieve your health and weight loss goals is to have a plan and stick to it. A goal without a plan is just a wish. So before you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal, make sure you’ve got a plan. . For example, when I decide “my plan is to have one serving of dessert,” I can stick to my plan easily. Without that plan, dessert easily turns in to 2 or 3 servings. Practice moderation.
- Fill up on your favorite veggies. Fall is such a great time to enjoy fresh seasonal veggies like squash, broccoli cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. Load up on veggies before dinner and make sure at least half of your plate consists of vegetables. The fiber will help you to feel full, and the vegetables offer the most important nutrients.
- Eat slowly and be THANKFUL. You are what you eat? No, you are what you absorb! Chewing your food slowly improves nutrient absorption, digestion, and can help you eat less. Research has shown that having an attitude of gratitude has many health boosting properties. Being grateful decreases stress, improves your immune system, and helps with sleep issues. So take a moment to remember what Thanksgiving is all about. When you feel deep, sincere gratitude, the result is a much happier and healthier you.