In just a few days the majority of America will be focused on food all day, and on average, taking in as much as three times their daily caloric requirements!
The gorging starts first thing in the morning when most of us start the day off with a simple carb breakfast consisting of cinnamon buns, pancakes with syrup and bacon, or bagel with cream cheese. This is just a recipe for disaster. Not only does the sugar go straight to the hips as fat, but also causes your blood sugar level to spike, only to come crashing in an hour’s time, leaving you hungry and foraging for more food.
Rather than painting you a further picture of how the calories add up throughout the day, I have compiled a list of tips from personal experiences, from reading articles, and from sheer bewilderment as I have often sat and watched human beings (including myself!!) turn into mindless eating machines.
1) Start the day off with a nutritious and satiating breakfast packed with protein and complex carbs. THIS IS KEY TO THE WHOLE DAY. A 6 egg omelet (2 whole eggs, 4 whites) with turkey bacon, some veggies and a piece of whole wheat toast will leave you feeling satiated and full of energy to cook or to go see that football game. A cup of slow cooked oatmeal with berries and some almond milk is delicious and also a great choice. Add a piece of whole wheat toast for an extra energy kick.
2) It is unavoidable that many of the dishes will contain cream sauces and loads of butter. Don’t add insult to injury by slathering mayo on your turkey sandwich (at 100 cals/tbsp it adds up fast), or by using creamy salad dressings. Use mustard as a condiment (tastes so yummy!) or a tbsp of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your salad.
3) Skip the store bought rolls with butter. They don’t even taste that good and add about 150 calories (at least!). Take some more turkey, stuffing, or veggies instead. Load up with cranberries! Focus on having a balanced plate.
4) Drink plenty of water before and during your meal, and eat slowly. Don’t rush over for seconds! Wait at least 10 minutes. It takes at least that long for your brain to communicate with your stomach to register that you are full. Chances are that you won’t want seconds at this point and save yourself about 400 calories.
5) Contrary to my belief that there is a second compartment in your stomach for dessert, it just isn’t so. Instead of eating pie right after dinner, why don’t you wait a bit? And then have a small piece. Indulge in the small piece and savor every bite, rather than shoving huge portions in your mouth mindlessly, and then making excuses for your guilt. (“I feel fat”, “I’m such a pig”, “I shouldn’t have done that” – been there done that!). The answer is of course, yes, yes, and yes! So instead enjoy the smaller pieces to every last bite and feel grrrreat!!
6) If you’re cooking, try not to eat 1/4 of the meal before you serve it under the guise of “sampling” or “licking the leftovers” – btw, that’s why there are plastic spatulas; so use the spatula to clean out the leftovers, and not your mouth. Grazing adds upwards of 300 calories to the day!
7) The more alcohol you drink, the more you lose your inhibition, and the more you are apt to throw caution to the wind and overeat. Drink plenty of water between alcoholic beverages. Oh, and please don’t fool yourself into thinking that the Tropicana orange juice you’re drinking is good for you. It’s laden with sugar. Suck on a vitamin C and spare yourself the hips, the gut and the calories.
Above all, enjoy the day and be festive. Celebrate the many blessings you have in your life, and be merry. Just consider these tips to lessen the caloric blow of the day, and to help you feel in control, while having an amazing time and the best Thanksgiving yet!