When people talk about their upcoming holiday feasts, they often refer to turkey as being the cause of their future weight gain and reason to run extra miles on the treadmill. What you may not realize is that turkey is likely the healthiest part of the meal! It is a clean source of protein and pretty innocent as far as causing any disruption to your goals. The feeling of fatigue after eating the meal could partially be contributed to tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey. However, the culprit is likely something else. Any guesses? If you guessed carbohydrates, you are right! Chances are this drop in energy is caused by an abnormal and excessive amount of dense carbohydrate sources such as: potatoes, dinner rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, Yorkshire pudding, perogies, and mac and cheese. This doesn’t include post-dinner offerings that include pies, cookies, chocolates, and eggnog with Baileys.
1. Don’t SAVE yourself for turkey dinner. When you purposely deprive yourself of food so you can eat more during a feast, this causes you to eat and crave more and put everything on your plate without thinking twice. Keep your metabolism and mental clarity going throughout the day and fuel yourself with small balanced meals and snacks.
2. Drink plenty of water during the day, and before and after your meal. Your brain will trick you into thinking you are hungry and need to eat more – often when you are dehydrated and severely lacking in the water department.
3. Eat savory before sweet. When you eat sweets and treats first, you will eat less of the healthy stuff and crave more of the sugary desserts.
4. Lose the “All or Nothing” thinking. If you deviate and have a few things that aren’t perfect, don’t just throw in the towel and devour everything in sight.
5. Don’t wait until January to make better choices, we all know how this turns out. Every smart and healthy decision matters!
6. Balance your plate! Make sure at least 2/3 has equal amounts of vegetables and protein. Save the other 1/3 for your carbohydrate-dense side dishes. Eat a good portion of your protein and vegetables before diving into the carbs. You will feel better after the meal if you choose to eat this way. Allow yourself a treat afterwards, but keep it portioned.
REMEMBER these gatherings should be about spending time with family and friends, and not centered solely on the food. You already know how great these foods taste, so you don’t necessarily need reassurance with every dish and treat that is offered.
Enjoy the rest of December! If you haven’t already checked out my workshop in January, visit the Events tab on this site for all the details.