November 24, 2013
Let's keep our pants buttoned, shall we?
Yep, it's you and I, awaiting the feast that is Thanksgiving. The entrée and side dishes we anticipate all year long. The foods we become obsessive about come mid-September when the mornings are crisp and our linen favorites get folded away until Spring. Thanksgiving is the Foodie Holiday. An event designed to delight all our senses. And it never seems to disappoint. But if you could choose how it goes down this year, would you opt for: a) indulging while avoiding the ensuing unbuttoning of the pants or eliminating the elastic waistband from your chosen attire or b) committing an act of gluttony so profound you traumatize the members of the kid table?
What if Thanksgiving could mean showing off that body you have worked so hard on all year, staying in control of your success and opting out of the gut-bomb-ending?
Yes indeed, there is a way to feel unrestricted, eat well AND remain fabulous. Here are five easy tips for successfully navigating the biggest meal of the year.
- Don't starve yourself as preparation for extreme feasting. While it may seem a genius move, skipping a meal to save calories doesn't necessarily work in your favor. Because of the indulgent spread, it's easy to consume hundreds more calories (very quickly!) than you would have by following your standard routine. And likely because of the frantic pace by which you will work to overcome your famished state of mind.
- Slow down! We've looked forward to this meal all year long so give it the attention and time it deserves. Savor each bite. Enjoy the presentation, smells, textures and tastes of each dish. Slowing down your meal will also help your brain recognize when you are full before you've overdone it. Don't get extreme with counting chews, but set down your fork between bites to create a rhythm that will optimize your experience and allow time to retell stories of your older sister's strange ex-boyfriend.
- Focus on the bird. Turkey is a lean, low-calorie protein source and even that hefty dollop of gravy can add healthy fats - as long as said gravy appears to be lacking the rings of a tin can, of course. Make this the showcase on your plate and choose turkey for seconds if you are going to make another lap.
- Taste everything, eat nothing. The concept "taste everything, eat nothing" is really effective when it comes to the overwhelming choices offered at Thanksgiving. Studies show you don't appreciate food after the third bite anyway, so limit the high fat and not-so-healthy dishes to a taste or two. If you are telling me it is impossible to set a limitation on Aunt Bubbie's marshmallow-covered sweet potato dish, then at the very least, pay attention to that bite that no longer blows your mind and then leave it alone.
- Save room for dessert. Put an end to the marathon meal before it's registered uncomfortable in your midsection or shocking by your family. This way dessert won't just be an endurance add-on and you can actually appreciate the part of dinner you likely forgo in real life. When dessert is served, opt for the pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is full of nutrients like vitamins A & C, beta-carotene and potassium. It's one of the healthiest classic desserts available, especially if you choose real whipped cream over ice cream. (If you are the baker, consider a coconut flour crust. It's a delicious complement to pumpkin pie and bakes to create a flaky texture that mimics the classic pie dough.)