By: Nick McNaught
Thanksgiving is a holiday that promises the opportunity for overindulgence – a time for second (and third) helpings, rich foods, and the propensity toward sedentariness. It’s easy to get thrown off the healthy wagon while still enjoying the array, so it’s best to devise a strategy in navigating the day of eats and treats.
DO eat regular meals throughout the day as if it were any other. This will keep your metabolism working, and keep your eyes the same size as your stomach when it’s time to eat.
DON’T position yourself near the food table, especially the dessert. You will be prone to snacking, ingesting many more calories than you are aware of. It is common habit to munch away while socializing or out of boredom, so stay on the other side of the room.
DO first fill your plate with green beans, peas (& other veg), and turkey (remove the skin and go for white meat). Save a little room for the mashed potatoes and gravy, and do without the cranberry sauce. You should eat the meal in the same order, too. This will have you fill up on the most important macro-nutrients before looking to the carb comfort. Opt for pumpkin pie dessert, it’s lighter on the fat, however keep the slice size conservative.
DON’T allow yourself to fall victim to the slippery slope. Enjoy the beefed up festive recipes, but then get back on track the next day with the regular dietary routine. It is difficult to leave it at just one meal, and not crave the sodium and sweeter flavors. Don’t take leftovers home.
DO exercise prior. Create a calorie deficit before tucking into ‘the big meal.’ Whether it’s a workout at the gym, or a big walk with family, burn some calories to make the room! A long walk after dinner is a great way to combat the effect of the meal and the impending lethargy.
DON’T drink too much alcohol. Alcoholic beverages have lots of excess calories and the food is already loaded with plenty of those. Enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but consume twice as much water to stay hydrated and minimize consequences.
It is important to keep in mind that Thanksgiving is a time to revel in family, warmth, and fall’s bountiful harvest. Don’t deny yourself these special moments by placing unrealistic restrictions. Stick with simple guidelines: portion control, exercise the day of, and get back on track.
Nick McNaught is one of the top health and wellness figures in Toronto, and a prominent personality among the fitness industry. Nick combines his passions, helping others and health, with successful careers as an elite trainer and owner of www.fuelfoods.com. He walks the walk, as a former North American Pro fitness model champion. Nick has made several appearances on Etalk, CTV, and been featured in more than 10 magazines and newspapers.