For some reason many of our traditional holidays revolve around food. There's nothing like getting together with friends and family sharing a meal during special times, but our health shouldn't have to pay for it! Here are some health conscious tips to keep in mind this weekend before you indulge:
- If you are a person who enjoys an alcoholic beverage, try to wait until dinner before having a drink - alcohol can mess with our stomach's full signal, which in turn can lead us down the path of overstuffing ourselves....
- Furthermore, try to consume a glass of water in-between alcoholic servings, this can help prevent dehydration and intoxication.
- Don't arrive to your party hungry! Some people think that restricting their diet during the day will give them permission to over indulge at dinnertime. Typically, when you enter the "starving state" you will eat faster and larger amounts. Again, this leads to feeling like a stuffed turkey afterwards.
- Appetizers count! Oh those darn finger foods. So tiny and so delicious! Filling up on bite-sized samples can really add up quickly. So if you know that you have no will power to survive the "just one bite" mentality, then maybe try avoiding them all together. Stick with the veggies (with limited dip of course...)
- Try to fill your plate with low glycemic foods (meats/proteins, eggs, nuts seeds, cheeses, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, & red peppers). By choosing low glycemic foods first you can help decrease the inevitable spike in your blood sugar levels and you will end up feeling fuller longer. While delicious as it is, try to limit the amount of stuffing, breads and potatoes with gravy as they are higher on the glycemic index scale and are empty carbs (non-nutritious calories).
- Try to wait ten minutes before heading back for seconds (if you absolutely must have them). By giving your stomach time to send full signals to your brain you can avoid over stuffing yourself.
- Get moving before/and after dinner! After dinner can be an especially hard time to feel like going for a walk. Many people believe that they feel extra tired after a turkey meal because they heard that turkey contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and is a building block for a neurotransmitter called serotonin (responsible for sleep). But the TRUTH is that there really isn't enough tryptophan in a turkey meal to make you feel sleepy, you feel sleepy because you over ate and your blood sugar levels spiked and are now dropping to lower levels.
- One of the most popular places to congregate at a party is the kitchen (hello, kitchen party!). By hanging out in the kitchen it's very easy to pick away at the temptation in front of you. Step away from the kitchen and visit in the living room or outside if the weather is nice.
- Desert..... as tasty as it is, it's usually filled with refined sugars and fats (that's what makes it so appealing to our brain). If desert is an absolute must, try to keep the portion size down to half of what your host wants to give you. Also, a good option to indulge is to bring a small dark chocolate bar (70% cocoa or more) with you, that way if your brain is telling you that you must have something sweet, you can still indulge with a couple squares without having to worry about the guilt that comes along with it.
- Go easy on yourself. If you do fall off-track and over indulge, don't be too hard on yourself. You are only human and a human brain is wired to have an addiction to sugar, salt and fat.
Do you have any tried tested and true strategies to survive thanksgiving? Please share!!
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