Whether you’re on a strict diet or just trying to keep your eating schedule on track, Thanksgiving can be intimidating. The first of the gorge-yourself, eat-until-you-can’t-move holidays of the season, it can be easy to fall off the wagon into the New Year. This holiday can be scary for some, and it’s important to know how to pace yourself throughout the day and portion throughout the meal. We want you to enjoy your evening without the stress the day often brings, so we’ve compiled some Thanksgiving Day tips to help you stay healthy this Turkey Day.
1. Eat breakfast.
We’ve all done it. Wake up in the morning, starve yourself all day, avoiding the hors d’oeuvres and the cheese plates to have as much room in your stomach as possible for the main event. After your mid-afternoon dinner binge, you feel full all the way up your throat and like you never want to eat again. No one likes this feeling, and eating a healthy breakfast in the morning will wake up your stomach, keeping you satisfied throughout the day and making you less likely to binge when you finally sit down for dinner.
2. Drink water.
In general, this is a good tip. Drinking water throughout the day makes you more immune to random “hunger” pangs that are actually more likely associated with hydration. Your mind can often confuse the feeling of dehydration with hunger, and can lead to unnecessary snacking throughout the day.
3. Get enough sleep.
Make sure to get a solid 8 hours the night before Thanksgiving. A tired body is often hungrier than normal, making you eat much more than would be necessary over the course of the day. Getting a good night’s sleep makes both your mind and body much clearer and happier, helping you better deal with Great Aunt Lisa’s annoying prying about your love life.
4. Get a workout in.
Even if it’s just some time to yourself to take a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood, getting active on Thanksgiving Day can help you de-stress and handle the day a little better. Getting those endorphins flowing in important to your mental health, and you’ll feel a little better about all those mashed potatoes on your plate after some good exercise.
5. Alcohol has calories.
Don’t forget this! Drinking can start early on Thanksgiving, and it’s easy to forget that each glass of wine has a significant 120 calories. Don’t be afraid to indulge a little, but you don’t want to be asleep on the couch before the meal begins, right?
6. Wait 20 minutes before heading for seconds.
This is typically how long it takes for your stomach to send the message to your brain that no more food is needed. So take a break from the meal, go play some Monopoly with your little cousin, and if you still feel hungry, go back for a couple smaller portions of your Thanksgiving favorites.
7. Save room for dessert!
If you’re a dessert lover, make sure to keep a little room in your stomach for the final course, so that you’re not stuffing yourself just to get in a few bites of your favorite pies. You’ll be happy you did.
Thanksgiving is full of happiness and family fun, and it’s great to know how to enjoy yourself while keeping your body running smoothly and your mind at ease. This year, indulge in your favorite foods, return to your favorite neighborhood bars, and spend quality time with family and friends, but don't forget to take care of yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!