Wednesday, November 24, 2010

6 Tips to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

(c) 2010, Kathy Fannon (Holland Farmer's Market, October 2010)

Can you smell it? The bird baking, the potatoes cooking, gravy thickening…mmmmm, I can’t wait for tomorrow! But before you head to Grandma’s, look over these 6 things you can do to avoid eating too much at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

1)  EAT BREAKFAST! Too many people think by skipping breakfast and ‘saving’ their calories they are doing themselves a favor. Wrong! Your body needs fuel first thing in the morning to carry you through your busy day, especially one filled with family, friends, and working in the kitchen. (That ‘saving’ calories thing doesn’t work anyway.)

Here are some healthy breakfast ideas.

2)  Stay Hydrated By keeping up with your daily water intake (half your body weight in ounces) you will naturally be ‘full’ before you sit down at the table. It will also help keep your mind clear so you can argue politics with Uncle Michael.

3)  Eat Snacks What? Yes, I said to snack. It’s a long way from that breakfast you ate until dinner. Keep healthy snacks handy and eat them if you feel hungry. A handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, or some carrot sticks are all great snacks to keep you going.

4)  Portion Control Keep in mind that a perfect portion of meat is about the size of your palm and veggies (as raw as possible) should take up about 2/3 of your plate. (No, that doesn’t mean 1/3 can be mashed potatoes with gravy! Try to eyeball about ½ cup.)

Yeah, ok, it’s Thanksgiving and nobody makes Jell-O salad like Aunt Linda and you must have some. So have some! But keep portion control in mind – maybe just one spoonful. If you take too much it loses its flavor anyway and you’re eating it just to eat it.

Be careful of too much stuffing and rolls as well. Chances are they are white bread and will do no favors for your digestive system or your health.

5)  No Seconds When your plate is clean, don’t pick at more potatoes, rolls or stuffing. You’ve chosen proper portions the first time around, but choosing them again a second time around means you’re eating too much.

6)  Stop when you’re full! If you realize you’re getting full, stop eating! Nobody says you have to eat everything on your plate. If guilt feelings are involved I’m sure your hostess would be happy to cover your leftovers to take home and have for your lunch on Friday.

Do you feel sluggish after a Thanksgiving meal? Yes, we can blame the tryptophan in the turkey, but putting fuel in our bodies should not wear us out. If you put fuel in your vehicle, wouldn’t you expect it to move? Don’t eat so much, or choose the wrong kinds of food (your fuel), that you need a nap later. Besides, that palm-sized portion of turkey should not be enough to knock you out! (Unless, of course, you are a Detroit Lions fan and need to be put out of your misery, then extra turkey for you! Oooo...Ouch! Kidding!)

Don't forget to enjoy your family and friends, even if they make you nuts! Enjoy being with the ones who love you most and be interested in their lives.

Relax...physically, mentally, emotionally. Stress takes away from the fun of the day. Breathe deep if you start to feel stressed. Maybe you're the hostess and you feel pressure to get it all done and on the table. Close your eyes and breathe deep a few times. Regain perspective. It's ok if dinner isn't exactly on time. Ask for help if you need it. (Or shoo some people OUT of the kitchen if they're in the way!)

Most of all, remember to give thanks to God who loves you and has blessed you with so much in your life. If He never does another thing for us, He's done enough. Although, I'm thankful He likes to do more for me.

I'm also thankful for you and your faithfulness to reading my little blog. I may be starting small, but I'm starting!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

Do you have tricks that help you not to overeat at Thanksgiving? Please share!