Thanksgiving is a day to feel no shame for the food you consume and to inevitably fall into a coma in front of the TV at 7 pm. Sometimes, though, you may desire to skip the heavy feeling of food in your stomach and prep your body for the 4 am wake-up call of shopping.
In order to get you alert and ready, here are a few ways to help prep your stomach for the days to come.
It's common knowledge that eating a good breakfast will help to control eating for the rest of the day. So if your family typically sits down to eat around 3 or 4 pm, have a small breakfast with a mix of healthy carbs & fats, along with some protein to hold you over, such as scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast. If your family eats earlier, try just a piece of toast or a granola bar.
It's easy to sit in front of the TV and watch parades and football all day. But getting outside, even just for 30 minutes, will help build up an appetite and get some blood flowing. Go for a brisk walk, a light jog, play some football and work out the aggression you feel towards that passive aggressive uncle who always comes to town on the holidays. We all have one.
Stay Out of the Kitchen (Unless You're Cooking)
If the aromas wafting from the kitchen all day tempt you to sneak in and steal a few bites, try to avoid it as much as possible. All those extra nibbles actually do contain calories, and will contribute to a consistent full feeling throughout the evening.
Portion Your Plate
The old rule of thumb applies. Make sure your plate has a variety of colors on it, not simply brown and white. Throw in some of the green bean casserole your grandma raves about, or the Brussels sprouts that your yoga teacher aunt brings to dinner, no matter what the occasion. The greens will fill you up without bloating you out.
Choose This, Not That
Choices matter, my friends. When presented with options on the table, there are always better ones. If you have a choice between sweet potatoes and white potatoes, choose the sweet. They're a complex carb, rather than a simple, and will keep you full for longer and for less.
Choose casseroles with broth bases, rather than creams. Go for light meat over dark, unless you have a huge taste preference. And for God's sake, make your own cranberry sauce. If the jelly still has can marks on it, you're doing it wrong.
Healthy Side Dishes
If your looking for a healthy Thanksgiving option, there's no harm in contributing your own side dish, whether or not the destination is at your house.
A simple yet easy combination is combining chicken broth, some olive oil, Brussels sprouts, prosciutto or bacon, garlic, and sautéed onions in a pan and roasting them. If it tastes like bacon and smells like bacon, those pesky little green things hardly seem to matter.
Which Pie Applies?
Lots and lots of pie, oh my. The favored desserts of Thanksgiving always seem to come in pie form, and the choices are endless. From your all-American apple, to the fall festive pumpkin, there's a choice for everyone. If you've eaten modestly all day, and want to have a free for all with the dessert, I will never stand in your way.But, if you're looking for the healthy choice, here's what to go with: avoid the pecan, hit up the apple or pumpkin. An average slice of pecan pie will hit you with over a whopping 500 calories per slice. A slice of apple will set you back about 280, and pumpkin about 320. Besides the obvious caloric benefits, both apple and pumpkin will provide some nutrients and a serving of fruit to round out your meal.