Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. My favorite aspects of the day have always been the Macy Day Parade, the smell of lunch in the oven and enjoying the delicious food while surrounded by the people I love. Although it is my most cherished holiday, it can also be a time of indulgence to a level of discomfort. Here are my top five recommendations to stay on track before, during and after the Thanksgiving meal to optimize your health and maintain your comfort throughout the entire day:
- Eat breakfast! So many people think, “oh, I’ll save all my calories for the big meal.” This could be your biggest mistake. Eat a well-balanced breakfast so when it’s time to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal, you are not ravenous. When we are overwhelmingly hungry, our blood sugar dips which leads to those intense desires to eat sugar, simple carbohydrates and/or to eat more than our body really needs. Start your day off, as you always do, with a well-balanced breakfast that sets you up for success.
- Drink water! If you are enjoying some libations or not, make sure you’re enjoying water, as well. Consuming water helps us with digestion, circulation, and transportation of nutrients among many other things. Water may not be that exciting, but it’s vital for our health.
- Lean back! During the actual meal, be mindful of the pace that you are eating. Take two bites and then put your fork down and sit/lean back. This will create awareness, presence and mindfulness around your body’s cues towards satiety.
- Get outside! Thanksgiving is about being with family, right? Why not have a little fun! Get outside and play with the kids! Don’t have kids to play with? Propose a fun activity for the adults outside: quick game of kickball, capture the flag or good ol’ football!
- Hold off on the h’ordouves and save room for the Thanksgiving meal. Enjoy a few nibbles if the desire is there, but otherwise stay busy visiting with family while you wait for the meal. This is a great reason why eating breakfast is crucial.
Out of all of the above, most importantly – enjoy the holiday. This year has had some exceptionally challenging moments; take this day to enjoy the blessings that this year has brought. And remember, your efforts this year towards your health and wellness will not be completely derailed if you decide to enjoy the h’ordeuvers or have a glass (or two) of wine.
Cheers to your health and happiness.