Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It is a day meant for celebration and spending time with loved ones. But for some, it can be stressful finding balance between their health goals and the abundance of food that often accompanies the day. So here are six tips for a healthy Thanksgiving.
1. Stay hydrated
Sometimes when we feel hungry, our bodies are actually craving water. Therefore, ensuring we are properly hydrated throughout the day will help us be more attuned to our bodies’ natural hunger signals. If you have a difficult time drinking plain water, try adding pieces of fruit or cucumbers to your water. Herbal tea can be a great option, too.
2. Start your meal with bitters
Bitter herbs, when placed on the tongue, can help awaken our bodies’ natural digestive processes by stimulating the production of gastric juices and saliva. They also help to stimulate our vagus nerve, putting us in a parasympathetic “rest and digest” state. They can even help to reduce bloating, reflux, and indigestion that often accompany a large meal.
3. Fill your plate with veggies first
When assembling your dinner plate, serve yourself the veggie sides first. Not only will this ensure that vegetables make it into your meal, but it will also help to crowd out space on your plate which will naturally help to reduce portion sizes of richer foods.
4. Eat slowly and check-in with your body before grabbing seconds
It takes our bodies about 20 minutes after we start eating to register that we are full. Therefore, it is important to eat at a leisurely pace and to give ourselves a moment to pause and check-in with our bodies before going for a second portion. There is no pressure to eat more than what feels satisfying, and whatever you don’t finish at dinner will make great leftovers for the week ahead!
5. Skip the dishes and go for a walk after dinner
Did you know that a 15 minutes walk after a meal can help to reduce your blood sugar? The glucose from the meal is moved from our blood stream into our muscles to be used as fuel. If you don’t like walking, that’s okay because any kind of movement will do. So after dessert, procrastinate on clean up by taking a walk or having a mini dance party!
6. Breathe, enjoy the day, and get back to your routine tomorrow
Finally, a gentle reminder that Thanksgiving is just one day of the year. Our health is based upon what we do most days, so one day of indulgence is not going to ruin any of your health progress. Go ahead and enjoy the day, nourish your body and your soul, breathe, and get back to your normal routine Friday morning.
Article adapted from bastyr.edu