The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company and a variety of delicious food, however, if you are not careful, Thanksgiving might be a time when you overindulge in food instead of family! Making healthier options for dinner will allow you to indulge in your favorite holiday treat and into your favorite pair of jeans.
Below are some tips to help you stay healthy over this holiday season.
Say Yes To Fiber
Filling half of your plate with greens will start your meal off with a boost of phytochemicals and fiber. Vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole grains are chock full of fiber, water, and antioxidants that keep you full and healthy. Fiber helps to improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels to promote regularity. Fibrous foods can add sustenance to your food without adding extra calories and fiber takes longer to digest, so it will also keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. So pile up those string beans and you might not even have room for the pie.
Drink a large glass of water before dinner. Sometimes people confuse thirst for hunger because both mechanisms are located in the hypothalamus part of your brain. Water also creates the feeling of fullness, making the second helping of turkey look less appealing.
If you want to cut back on calories, stick to water. Drinking holiday elixirs, juices, sodas, and mixed drinks can add extra calories to your meal and sabotage your weight goals. For instance, a 4 oz. glass of wine contains about 100 calories; if you do choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one serving. You can also complement holiday meals and ease digestion with a soothing cup of herbal tea.
Don’t Go Hungry
Be sure to eat a healthy and wholesome breakfast and lunch the day of Thanksgiving because people tend to eat faster and consume more food if they are hungry. Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism and lead to binging and bloating. If you are having your feast mid-afternoon, snack on some unsalted nuts or whole grain crackers with cheese before your festivities begin in the evening.
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You don’t have to sacrifice your favorite treats completely when you’re limiting your calories over Thanksgiving. As long as you are mindful of portion size you can treat yourself to a drink, dessert, or rich meal without guilt. Most of the time a small bite is enough to satisfy your taste buds. Learn to “eyeball” portions of food to help you. Keep these portion guidelines in mind: three oz. of meat is the size of a deck of cards, as is 1 slice of cake; 1/2 cup of rice equals a light bulb; one oz. cheese equals the size of three stacked dice. Enjoy a small sample of the foods you love and don’t go back for seconds if you want to maintain a slim waistline.
Talk More, Eat Less
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that it’s full. Therefore, chew slowly and put your fork down after each bite. Eating a meal too quickly will result in overeating and that uncomfortable overstuffed feeling. If you stop eating when you feel almost full and follow the “three-quarters” rule you can prevent overeating during the holidays. In contrast, when we eat slowly, we allow our body to release a hormone that signals fullness. Thanksgiving is about sharing special moments with friends and loved ones. Be a social butterfly and spend more time indulging in conversation and less on sweet potato pie.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment, call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com