HONOLULU (KHON2) — Managing your diet during a Thanksgiving feast can be a challenge, but it’s certainly possible with some mindful choices.
But taking the time to figure out what to do can be daunting. So, KHON2.com did the research for you. Something that will help us make it through this time is remembering that stress, anxiety and depression — which most of experience during the holiday season — can cause us to feel the need to eat more than we need.
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Here are some tips to help you navigate the holiday meal while still enjoying the festivities:
Drink water or other hydrating beverages
Drink plenty of water or other hydrating beverages throughout the day. Sometimes our bodies can mistake thirst for hunger, particularly leading to sugar cravings.
For diabetics, it’s important to know that blood glucose levels can rise due to dehydration.
Before the feast, consider eating a satisfying and nutritious breakfast and lunch. This can help to balance out your overall caloric intake for the day, but it can also help your body regulate hunger throughout the day better.
Be mindful of portion sizes. Use smaller plates to help control portions and avoid going back for seconds. Remember that just because it is there doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
Fill your plate with vegetables first. They are typically lower in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full. Of course, if these veggies are in casseroles, then me mindful of the extra calories and carbohydrates added.
Choose lean protein sources, such as turkey breast, and moderate your intake of higher-fat options like the skin. Oils like olive, coconut and avocado oils are good fats that can help supplement your needs for energy, so take advantage of this as an addition to your meal.
Watch the gravy and sauces
Gravy and sauces can add extra calories, sugars and carbohydrates. Use them sparingly or choose lighter alternatives.
Limit sugary drinks
Be cautious with high-calorie beverages. Opt for water or other low-calorie options instead of sugary drinks.
Eat slowly and savor each bite. This can help you recognize when you’re satisfied and prevent overeating. Remember the old rule of chewing your food for 20 counts before swallowing. Not only will this help you to be mindful, but it will also help you savor the flavor and will bring out flavors you didn’t know you could experience while doing this simple step.
Limit alcohol intake
Alcoholic beverages can contribute to excess calories and to excess eating. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and consider lower-calorie options.
Choose desserts wisely
If you want dessert, go for smaller portions or share with someone. Consider healthier dessert options like fruit salad. The big this is not to deny yourself. It is better to have a smaller portion than breaking due to restriction and consuming more than you had intended.
Engage in physical activity before or after the feast to help offset some of the extra calories.
Listen to your body
Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Stop eating when you’re satisfied. Grazing can help with this. Eating small portions throughout the day can help you feel satiated while also helping you to feel like you’ve taken full advantage of the special holiday meal.
Bring a healthy dish
If you’re attending a potluck-style gathering, bring a healthy dish to ensure there’s at least one option that aligns with your dietary goals.
Enjoy the company
Thanksgiving is not just about the food. Focus on the people and the experience and don’t let food be the sole focus of the day.
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Remember, it’s okay to indulge a bit on special occasions, but being mindful of your choices can help you strike a balance between enjoying the feast and maintaining a healthy diet.