Savory food, sugary drinks and decadent desserts. Thanksgiving really is a temptation triple threat!
We look forward to this ultimate family gathering all year long and we deserve to indulge a little. Unfortunately, most of us go overboard at the Thanksgiving table. It isn’t until the day after, when we notice that our clothes are a bit more snug, that we regret our food choices.
What if there was a way to satisfy your taste buds at the table, without packing on the pounds or suffering from next-day bloating, heartburn and exhaustion? Fortunately, there is. All it takes is a game plan, some healthy swaps and more mindful choices.
Here are five guilt-free ways to get you through Thanksgiving with a satisfied stomach and without affecting your happy weight:
A truly great, guilt-free Thanksgiving actually starts before you sit down at the dinner table. Set yourself up for success by eating a small, high protein breakfast. Eating protein revs up your metabolism and keeps you fuller, longer.
Instead of serving mashed potatoes or stuffing, opt for mashed cauliflower or roasted baby purple potatoes. It's a great way to avoid empty carbs or heavy side dishes that tend to be filled with butter, milk or cream. Treat cranberry sauce as a garnish -- not a side dish. Since it’s usually packed with sugar, use it sparingly on your turkey and vegetables.
Greens are always a safe bet, so pile them on -- minus the creamy sauces. If you fill your plate with three to six cups of vegetables, you're less likely to feel hungry by the end of dinner. Look for good sources of fiber, like broccoli or spinach, which will keep you feeling satisfied.
If you must have something sweet after dinner, choose something with natural sugar like fruit. If that apple pie is simply calling your name, cut a thin slice and skip the whipped topping and ice cream. Keep portion size small and eat only those baked goods that are homemade or made fresh, as they will have fewer or no preservatives.
Just say no to the empty-calorie alcoholic drinks. This goes for the creamy eggnogs and hot cocoa with marshmallows, too. The calories come mainly from the sugar, which is converted into fat and then stored in the body. As a fun yet calorie-friendly alternative, try any of these dietician- approved drinks:
The holiday season is no time to cut back on or stop your workout sessions. To make sure you stay accountable, keep your workouts doable, realistic and enjoyable. On the day of Thanksgiving, do some physical activity you actually like to do, whether it's a walk or workout DVD. A convenient home workout is one you’re more likely to commit to, so set aside some time and hit the mat. For the biggest metabolism boost, perform at least 15 minutes of lifting free weights. Because it boosts your metabolism for 24 hours, lifting even light weights can make a big difference when it comes to metabolizing your Thanksgiving dinner.
The Monday after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to do a short detox. It gives you a chance to reset and relieve any leftover bloat. A good detox program is focused on giving your liver all the nutrients it needs for a refresh, so that it can clear out stored toxins that are making you feel heavy, sick and sluggish. You don’t have to ‘juice’ to cleanse the body. Simply load up on organic greens like kale, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbages, and vibrant fruits. Throw in some healthy protein and you’ll be feeling 100% in no time. If you want to dial up your detox, Milk Thistle is a powerful herb that has been used for centuries to support liver health.
Don’t shame yourself -- just choose wisely
As you enjoy the holiday, eat slowly and eat mindfully. This practice will cause you to be more aware of what you are eating and how it’s making you feel. Instead of approaching Thanksgiving as the time to indulge, think of it as a time to nourish the body and soul. Make conscious choices and you won’t have to do much damage control after the fun is all over.
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