10 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Turkey Day by Sandy Sfikas, RD, LDN
1. Don’t show up hungry to a gathering. It makes no sense to starve just to stuff. Eat a small healthy snack before leaving home to avoid overindulging at the party. Consider a handful of almonds and a piece of low-fat cheese.
2. Budget your treats. Make a decision whether you want a cocktail or two, or a slice of pie. You shouldn’t take a break from budgeting your calories on Thanksgiving. Plan ahead and choose wisely.
3. Stay hydrated with plenty of water, seltzer, and soda water (sugar-free). Many people mistake dehydration for hunger. In addition, water helps us feel full. Also, alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body, so keep hydrated by sipping water and sugar-free beverages.
4. Don’t hang around the food table. Find a spot away from the food table and you’ll find that “out of sight, out of mind” really is true when it comes to food.
5. Eat Slowly. Since it takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full, slow down and enjoy your meal. According to experts, putting down your fork between bites and eating mindfully is a sure-fire way to enjoy your meal and be satisfied with less food.
6. Bring a healthy side dish. You may not know what’s in the other holiday goodies, but by bringing your own dish, you’ll rest assured that you’re filling up on something nutritious.
7. Get enough sleep. When we’re tired, our hunger and fullness signals don’t work properly. We may crave more carbohydrates and tend to over eat unknowingly. Get at least 7 hours of sleep during the holidays.
8. Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat until you feel about 80% full, then wait 20 minutes for your body to register that you are full. Eating until we are 100% (or more) full causes overeating by 20% or more.
9. Try the plate method: Fill your plate with ½ vegetables, ¼ starch, and ¼ lean meat. If it doesn’t fit on your plate, skip it!
10. Get in some activity: Find the time to get in at least 20 minutes of exercise. Most gyms are open on Thanksgiving, so carve out some time to get the blood moving. Or, take a walk with friends and family and enjoy their company on the holiday.
Sandy Sfikas is a registered and licensed dietitian in Chicago. She’s also a nutrition editor, writer, and blogger. She’s worked in clinical settings as well as fitness facilities. “Change is uncomfortable and if you’re not ready to make changes, I can’t force you. My clients do all the work, and I’m there to facilitate the process. I provide the tools and encouragement to overcome weight loss hurdles. Sometimes a complete lifestyle change is needed, and other times a few tweaks to their current diet can make all the difference.” To contact Sandy, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.