Do you remember how you felt last year after you finished eating your big Thanksgiving meal? Did you want to curl up in a ball, lie on the sofa, and fall asleep? Or did you want to go for a walk, play games with your family, and watch some turkey-day football?
Many of us have experienced the food coma — the feeling of being so full we can barely leave our chair. While turkey often gets the blame for post-Thanksgiving drowsiness, Scientific American says the biggest culprits are actually just overeating in general and consuming excess sugar from dessert (to learn the science behind why that sweet potato pie will make you sleepy read here).
The solution to avoiding a food coma is quite simple: stop eating before you’re completely stuffed and take it easy on the dessert. But on a holiday that’s largely focused around eating pumpkin pie, turkey and mashed potatoes, that’s easier said than done — so here are a few helpful tricks to make it work.
1. Before the big meal starts give yourself a pep-talk. Remind yourself that you want to feel happy and healthy at the end of the night and that you have the power to make that goal come true. If you are watching football when they show the recording of the coaches giving their pep-talk imagine they are talking to you about eating healthy.
2. Work with a buddy. Ask your sister, brother, mom, dad, friend, or cousin if they would like to be your accountability partner for the big day. Staying healthy with somebody else is much easier than doing it alone.
3. Everything in moderation unless you know something is your weakness. There is no reason you can’t have that sweet potato biscuit unless you know that after you have one you will need to eat twelve more. There are so many food choices on Thanksgiving that not having the one thing that is your weakness won’t seem like a big deal.
4. Serve the meal buffet style and don’t go up for seconds. When meals are served buffet style it’s much easier to say no to just having a little more of those mashed potatoes that you love. Know before you go up that you are only going to eat what you put on that plate the first time through the line. Remind yourself that you can always have turkey and gravy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day.
5. Help with the cooking. It’s easier to make healthier food choices when you know exactly what goes into the food you are eating. If you see Grandma sneaking some high fructose corn syrup into her pie or Mom putting lard in her cookies you will already know you don’t want to pile those high on your plate.
I hope you have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving!
Image credit: inafrenzy via Flickr