It is feasting time! And by that, we mean time to give thanks (of course) while enjoying some of the best foods that come with that Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. For some, the day is spent watching movies (and maybe alone), but who doesn’t love a good solo slumber party? Others spend the day working, spending time with friends or other loved ones. In this article, we are touching on those spending time with friends and family enjoying Mom’s turkey, Grandma’s sweet potato casserole, and your fourth cousin that randomly appears every year with that store-bought pumpkin pie. Hey, we aren’t hating on it. And for those who have big goals they are crushing, this holiday can be overwhelming on how to approach it while still accomplishing their goals. So whether you are preparing for that Thanksgiving meal or any other big meal, here are some tips on what to do before, during, and after a big meal.
What to Do Before
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Skipping breakfast can lead to being overly hungry and then eating too much food, which can lead to other physical and mental problems. Instead, eat a fiber-filled breakfast. This way, you won’t get prematurely hungry, and it will keep you regular. The last thing you want is to be stopped up before you eat foods you don’t typically eat on a regular basis. Try this smoothie recipe on Thanksgiving morning.
Lean and Green Smoothie (serves 2)
1 head romaine lettuce
1 handful spinach
2 cups water
1 apple, cored
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
Throw it all in the blender and enjoy.
Be Mindful of Snacking
Everyone always says to show up at a certain time, but how many times have you shown up and the turkey is actually ready? Yeah. Hardly ever. So in walks in the appetizer trays, chip bowls with dip, crackers, and all the things that are easy to eat. Then add in the chatting with other people, and the next thing you know, you are now mindlessly snacking. You don’t have to skip the snacks altogether. Instead, aim to snack on easy-to-digest foods like raw carrots or celery sticks.
This meal can be a great break from your regular routine. If you are used to meal planning and eating without too many cheat meals, Thanksgiving can be a great time to break that cycle. If you are going to do this though, we really recommend making sure you will do it without feeling guilty. The idea isn’t that you will want to try to make up for it in the gym all week. Instead, use the extra calories as a way to reset the body and maybe fuel some muscle-building with it. We know it doesn’t quite work like that, but you get the idea… just enjoy yourself.
What to Do During
Chew Your Food More
Chewing is an important part of digestion. Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with an enzyme called salivary amylase. If you aren’t chewing your food properly, that initial step of digestion gets hindered! Plus, you aren’t taking the time to let your taste buds enjoy what you are eating. Typically, a Thanksgiving dinner is full of carbohydrates, and chewing your food thoroughly is important to keep the digestive system running smoothly.
Find the Greens
Try to find as many greens as possible and fill up most of your plate with those. Next, look for the proteins (preferably the lean ones). Then add some carbs because who doesn’t love a little dabble in some potatoes and gravy? Eat in this order, too, try to fill up as much as you can on the healthier green foods, and remember the step above.
Drink Plenty of Water
About 60% of the body is water, so it’s important to hydrate with a sufficient amount of water daily. But a lot of times, when eating large meals, water can take a back burner to coffee, alcohol, and food. It’s even more important for anyone trying to lose weight to increase their water intake. Drinking lots of water helps you feel full, so you don’t actually stuff yourself full.
What to Do After
Post Big Meal Fast
Try doing a 24-hour fast the day after your big meal. We recommend starting your fast in the evening after a big meal. If you finish eating by 7 pm then start your fast that evening at 8 pm. By the time you wake up on Friday, you’ve already completed a huge section of your fast. For instance, you wake up at 8 am then you’re already halfway done with your fast. During the fast, you can’t eat during this time, but make sure to drink lots of water. Herbal teas are definitely great to enjoy, too; just remember not to add anything to them. and you can also enjoy herbal teas. The idea here is to simply give your body and digestive system rest.
Drink Green Drinks
If fasting isn’t something you want to try, then a great alternative is sticking to green juices 24 hours after a big meal. You can either make these at home or pop into a local juicery. Many juice places will also let you order a whole day’s worth ahead of time.
Jump Back into Your Routine
One meal isn’t going to kill all results. Enjoy that meal and get back on the horse. Jumping back into your routine right away will help keep you on track. Skipping that workout or allowing the feast to run into a few days after can make it easier to just keep on that path.
Say No to Leftovers
Leave the leftovers to let that fourth cousin of yours to take home. Jumping right back into your routine means there isn’t any more room for sweet potato casserole and apple pie a la mode. If you say no to bringing home leftovers, then the chances of you going back to your regular meals is likely.