Thanksgiving dinner means a lot of food, and if you’ve been successful at adhering to your health plan all year round, you may be tempted by the mountains of delicious smelling carbs and fat. To prevent yourself from going overboard, here are some tips that can help you fight the cravings.
1. Have an active day: Go for a walk or run in the morning, and spend the day doing errands if you can. It won’t really do anything to combat the calories of the coming evening, but it will make you feel less guilty if you slip up.
2. Stay out of the kitchen: That’s where the temptation starts! The more you hang around the kitchen, the more you’ll be enticed by the smells and you’ll end up with a half-full stomach because you were “sampling” the dishes as they cook.
3. Have light meals throughout the day: Don’t starve yourself, but don’t start piling on the carbs at breakfast either. You have a big meal to look forward to in the evening, so go easy on the others. If there’s a long gap between lunch and dinner, fill up on a small snack or juice and don’t keep your stomach completely empty.
4. Stay well hydrated: If your body is hydrated, fresh and energized, you’ll be less likely to be ravenous and eat everything in sight.
5. Eat Slowly and Indulge Wisely: It goes without saying, if you spend more time actually chewing your food, you’ll be less likely to gulp down huge mouthfuls. Take smaller portions to make it easier to try every dish without feeling bloated too soon. Also, have a bite of everything but focus on one or two dishes you enjoy the most.
6. Stand Up and Mingle: If you’re at a party with a buffet, this is easy to do. However, even if you’re at home, chances are that it’s crowded with family. Take a plate of food and step away from the food table; this keeps you on your feet, comparatively active, and less easy for you to keep piling food on your plate. If you like your family, spend some time talking to them instead of shovelling food in your mouth; if you hate your family, you’ll need some space from them anyway, so let them grab at the food on the table!
7. Drink Responsibly: If you enjoy your drink, please do so. However, instead of filling up on beer, try something lighter like wine, and keep yourself in check by alternating it with water or soda. Please don’t get sloshed (leave that to someone else!).
8. Distract Yourself: After dinner is over, do something to take your mind off the food. Offer to clear the table or do the dishes to prevent yourself from going back for more helpings. Another trick is to pop a gum or breath mint; the minty flavor is like toothpaste, signalling the end of the meal, thus making you hesitant to grab more pie.
9. Down the Serving Size: If you’re cooking from an old recipe, there is no need to attempt to make it healthier; you may end up defiling it and making it inedible! Make your great-grandma’s rich dessert, but cut it into more pieces so that the serving sizes are smaller. If you’re not cooking, a good way to cut down on dessert is to let everyone else get a slice first. It’s bad manners to take the last slice left, so you can take a sliver from the last piece without feeling guilty.
10. Manage Leftovers: If you’re staying at home, your fridge will be full of leftovers, and if you were at a party, you’ll be handed a share of the leftovers. Don’t let yourself pig out on them. Keep a small portion for yourself, and freeze or give away the rest. Freezing your food means you’ll have to defrost it before eating it, which will allow you to resist cravings.