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How to Thanksgiving Feast without Elastic Pants

Thanksgiving Feast

By Colleen Gulick

Everyone knows that proper Thanksgiving preparation begins with proper pant selection.  Elastic waist bands and stretchy fabric is the traditional feasting attire.  While a great meal with family or friends, some football or parades, and a good nap all sound enjoyable, the stuffed feeling, maxing out your elastic waist band, tiredness, and extra pound on the scale can have you feeling lousy the next day.  Here are a few strategies to help you indulge without the bulge this holiday season.

Order matters-

The order in which you eat your food has a significant impact on how it is processed by the body.  The most advantageous order of eating is: veggies first, protein and fats second, with starches and sugars last.  For Thanksgiving this means salad and green beans first, turkey and gravy (just a little) second, with pumpkin pie at the end.

 Everything in moderation-

This is the golden rule of nutrition, even outside of the holiday season.  A small slice of pumpkin pie is unlikely to undo your months of work on the treadmill.  An entire pie and ice cream to yourself, however, well that’s another story. 

 Easy on the bread- 

I like to call this the Olive Garden effect.  The free salad and breadsticks are enticing.  They smell great and you are hungry when you arrive at the restaurant so you are understandably drawn to them.  However, overindulging on pre-meal bread is an easy way to consume a lot of calories in the form of simple carbohydrates that quickly spikes your blood sugar and leaves you hungry shortly after.  If you are hungry before dinner, opt for some vegetables instead.  If veggies just aren’t cutting it then throw in some lean protein (turkey no gravy) to help curb your hunger.  

Drink-

And no, I don’t mean the adult beverages.  Oftentimes our bodies register thirst before hunger.  When your stomach grumbles, first try drinking some water or low-calorie beverage.  Wait an hour and if your stomach is still rumbling then go ahead and have a healthy snack, but drinking first can help with hydrating and delay your snack by an hour (leaving you less time in the day to pack in the calories).

Hopefully these tips will allow you to enjoy your holiday meal and still fit into your jeans on Friday… just in time to start prepping for the next holiday get together.  Happy Thanksgiving!