Thanksgiving conjures up memories of food, football, friends and family, and the post-meal food coma when you have to unbutton your pants and vow to never again do that to yourself. Here are a couple of tips to enjoy more of the day without the ending up in a food stupor.
1. Chew your food
Taking your time and chewing your food improves digestion by enhancing digestive enzyme function and making it easier for your body to absorb more of those all-important nutrients. Making sure your food is well chewed also gives your body time to produce the hormone leptin which tells your brain you are full and don’t need to eat anymore. Wolfing down your food means you may out pace leptin production and eat more that you mean to leading to that over-stuffed, gotta-unbutton-your-pants feeling.
2. Fill half your plate with vegetables
This tip really should be your go-to all day, every day and the same goes for Thanksgiving. Vegetables are filled with micronutrients to nourish your body and fiber to fill your belly. All that fiber will get you feeling full more quickly and for longer so you are less likely to overindulge. More vegetables also means you’re less likely to experience that post-Thanksgiving meal food coma.
3. Use a small plate
This is a great Jedi-mind trick. Research shows that using a smaller plate means you’ll consume less food but your brain still sees the food piled high on your (smaller) plate and doesn’t know the difference. This means you are less likely to eat way too much and feel the hurt later.
4. Give thanks
Let’s not forget the whole reason for the holiday. There is plenty of research that shows being grateful improves health. Take a few moments to remind yourself of the things and people you have to be grateful for. Better yet, share your gratitude with your friends and family to create a community of gratitude.
5. Don’t stress
The holidays are infamous for overindulgence and a lot of times this can leave people feeling guilty about their choices. Don’t worry about it. The stress caused by feeling guilty over that extra slice of pie or a few more of Grandma’s cookies does far more harm than the food itself. Give yourself some grace and enjoy connecting with people you love.