Let’s face it: the holiday season is a tough time for health-conscious people. Thanksgiving is especially food-focused. A typical Thanksgiving dinner usually includes large amounts of heavy foods, sugar and calorie-dense desserts, and alcohol- not exactly the best combination for someone trying to get leaner or improve markers of health.
Still, it’s totally fine (and often psychologically/emotionally beneficial) to occasionally deviate from healthy eating, and what better occasion is there than Thanksgiving, when we are with close family and friends? That being said, a little bit of moderation allows us to enjoy holiday meals without completely sacrificing our health and fitness goals. Unfortunately, eating in moderation can be difficult, especially when so much delicious food is readily available to us. Thankfully, there are some tricks we can use to moderate the amount of food that we eat without feeling deprived. You know what else? You can use these all the time, not just on Thanksgiving. Give these a try:
Drinking at least two cups of water immediately prior to eating will:
– Ensure that you’re well hydrated.
– Make you feel more full, decreasing the amount of food you will want to eat.
– Possibly boost your metabolism by 24% for an hour (Dennis et al. 2010).
Vegetables are more nutrient dense than other foods, and will also make you feel more full and satiated before you start to eat the higher-calorie foods. After my initial serving of veggies, I like to have a helping of high protein foods with more veggies before adding anything else.
Again, you’ll feel more full and satiated. Here’s a quick example of an easy and healthy snack:
– 1 serving of Fat-free Greek Yogurt
– 1 oz (28 grams) of almonds
– 1 serving of mixed berries or a piece of fruit of your choice
Many of us are often on the run or on a schedule and don’t have time to eat slowly, but that shouldn’t be a problem during holiday dinners, right? Eating slowly is a great habit. Here’s what you can expect with this trick:
– You’ll feel more satisfied, not just more “full”.
– You’ll automatically eat less because your body will have more time to realize that you’ve eaten enough and that you’re satisfied.
– You’ll be able to enjoy and savor the textures and flavors of your food better.
– You’ll have better digestion.
– You’ll be more likely to drink more water and stay better hydrated.
Give thanks and enjoy, just keep these pointers in mind to keep on track with your goals!