Preparing for the Holiday Meal

It’s important to prepare yourself for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal when the national norm is overeating to the point of discomfort. Maybe in prior years you tried skipping breakfast and lunch, and then found yourself gorging on seconds and thirds when the stuffing was passed. When sitting down to a holiday meal, ask yourself what you really want. Try to distinguish between the foods you think you want and the foods you really do want. For example, the mashed potatoes may look good, but Aunt Betty brought them and sometimes she cooks ‘from a box’…so they might not be that satisfying. And the rolls…you can get these rolls at the bakery any day, but Aunt Linda’s corn pudding is a once a year specialty.

Think about how you will feel after the meal. Do you want to feel your stomach in your throat and have to loosen your belt? Or, would you like to feel full but not ‘bursting’? Before you eat is a perfect time to focus on how you want to feel when the meal is done.

When filling your plate with the bountiful spread, visualize your plate in thirds. Divide your foods into categories of protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable, and fill your plate in those proportions. For example, turkey is a protein, braised brussel sprouts would be the vegetable, and carrot soufflé or sweet potato would be the carbohydrate. Life is full of choices, and this meal is just another one. Choose the carrot soufflé or the sweet potatoes, or a half portion of each.

Slow it down. Put your fork down between bites, engage in conversation, and chew your food. During the time between dinner and dessert, why not suggest a family walk around the park? Take a half hour to go outside stretch your limbs. When dessert comes, check in with yourself to see how full you already are. Try filling your plate with fruit salad and including one special treat. It’s less about depriving yourself, and more about focusing on how much you really need. This is a holiday about being thankful. Be thankful that you can get up from your chair without feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, and that you have learned healthful ways of treating your body.
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