CLEVELAND – The countdown to Thanksgiving is on, and with so many great food options, it may seem impossible to keep up with healthy eating habits.
But there are some tips to avoid overeating on the big day, including not skipping meals.
“I’ve had many patients that have said, ‘Well, I’m not going to eat anything until the meal, and then I’m just going to really enjoy it.’ If we go into the meal hungry, it’s kind of the same rule as if we go grocery shopping hungry — you’re more likely to overeat,” explained Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, with Cleveland Clinic. “So starting the day off right is going to be tip number one and that is have a good balanced breakfast.”
Kirkpatrick said it’s crucial to stay hydrated and make sure any snacks or meals you eat before Thanksgiving dinner are higher in protein, healthy fats and fiber.
To continue the trend at dinner, you can start by eating turkey for lean protein and healthy sides rich in color like Brussels sprouts for fiber. Focusing on nutrient-dense foods will help make you feel fuller.
Kirkpatrick also encourages people to slow down their eating to recognize when they’re actually full and not just eating more because others are.
She suggests a simple walk after dinner to give your body time to digest and process if you’re hungry for seconds or dessert.
Above all, it’s important to enjoy the holiday and not feel restricted.
“I think number one, if you do over overeat, let’s recognize that you’re human. This is one day of the year when people tend to overeat,” Kirkpatrick said. “You’re with your family, and maybe you haven’t seen these family members for a long time — enjoying the moment is important. You can wake up on Friday and get back to healthy eating.”
If eating healthier is your New Year’s resolution, Kirkpatrick said you can start moving toward that goal the day after Thanksgiving rather than waiting until January 1.