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Student Health: Thanksgiving without guilt


Staff writer

We have been waiting all year for the endless food and treasured memories of Thanksgiving Day. Many people believe that since Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, indulging in your favorite holiday foods is inevitable. Americans have a tendency to think that splurging and gaining weight during the holiday season is a national past time. However, for many of us, we have an inclination to pack on that extra pound and often times this weight stays on permanently.

This feast does not have to sabotage your weight or overall health. Being thanksgiving-savvy can help prevent you from going into that uncomfortable “food coma” after the meal and potentially gaining an extra pound. With some healthy thanksgiving tips, you can satisfy your lust for delicious traditional favorites while still enjoying a healthy Thanksgiving celebration.

Here are some tips to guide you towards a healthier and joyful Thanksgiving:

  1. Eat breakfast: Many people have a tendency to skip breakfast to save calories for the big meal; however, eating a satisfying breakfast can help control appetite throughout the day. Try to start your day out with a couple of eggs and a side of fruit, so you will not be famished by the big meal.
  2. Exercise: Get energized and burn some extra calories by getting active before or sometime after the meal. By taking a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood with a family member, this can create a calorie deficit by burning off extra calories, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
  3. Control your servings: Your eyes can occasionally be bigger than your stomach. Although the food at Thanksgiving seems bountiful and endless, controlling your portion sizes can aid in preventing overeating. Try to resist the temptations of eating too much and going back for nonessential seconds.
  4. Sip on water: By continuously sipping on water, this will aid in preventing dehydration, in which, the symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Water can also help keep your stomach full, thus potentially preventing the intake of those excess calories.
  5. Eat slowly & savor every bite: As previously stated, thanksgiving only comes once a year. Try to savor every bite and enjoy this beautiful and bountiful meal. By eating slowly, this allows more time for your brain to recognize when you are full. Put your fork down between bites to ensure proper satisfaction. On average, it takes your brain 20 minutes to realize that the stomach is full. Try to take some time after eating to decide if you really need to go back for seconds.
  6. Focus on family & friends: This holiday season is a time for celebrating everything you are thankful for. Thanksgiving is not just about endless food, but also celebrating the treasured relationships in your life. Be social and enjoy the quality time with your loved ones.
  7. Be realistic: In our culture, endless food is a given. Thanksgiving is a time for celebration and traditions, not restricting yourself from your favorite treats. The trick is to enjoy yourself, by being consciously aware of your surroundings and enjoying everything you are thankful for.

Remember that Thanksgiving is a time for stuffing a turkey, not yourself!

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