By Frida Harju (In-house nutritionist at health and fitness app, Lifesum)
After a long day of eating and drinking, by the time that evening comes around, the majority of us are passed out on our sofas with a severe case of food coma! While we love Thanksgiving for all of the food and indulgence it provides, most of us don’t enjoy that overly full feeling. While it is inevitable that you will consume more food than normal on this day, there are certain steps you can take to avoid getting stuck in a post-dinner food coma!
Don’t skip breakfast
With all the food preparation and fuss of Thanksgiving morning, breakfast may not be the first thing on your mind, but it is important that you fuel up with something healthy at the beginning of the day. I usually have porridge, or Greek yogurt with some blueberries and almonds. It is important that you get your metabolism going for the large meal that will ensue. By not skipping any meals throughout the day you give your body fuel, which will mean you aren’t tempted to overeat when the meal finally comes around.
Try not to sit down all day. I know Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and loved ones, but don’t slob! Doing a little bit of exercise throughout the day will help your digestive system, ensuring that you aren’t left feeling bloated and unwell by the end of the day. You could make yourself as useful as possible by cooking, helping with preparation, cleaning or tidying. You could also encourage family or friends to take a walk, preferably after dinner to help with digestion, but even before helps gets your metabolism going.
Keep drinking water
One of the best things you can do is to keep drinking water throughout the day. Not only is water a great aid to digestion, but our brain can often confuse dehydration with hunger, meaning that when we think we are hungry, it’s often actually our body trying to tell us that we need fluids. By drinking water throughout the day you can help stop yourself from overeating. It can also be helpful to have a glass of water 20-30 minutes before your meal, so that your body has time to register the fact that you’re filling up.
Add cinnamon to your food
A big part of the food coma we often feel after meals like Thanksgiving dinner, is the feeling of tiredness. This tiredness is often triggered by having eaten foods that were high in sugar, which your body reacts to by producing serotonin, which later leads to a drop in blood sugar levels. To help avoid this, it’s a great idea to add cinnamon where possible to your meals. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps them low, meaning that you won’t feel such a significant drop in energy levels towards the end of your day.
Watch your plate size
It’s always a temptation to overeat at Thanksgiving, but you should limit your intake if want to avoid the inevitable food coma. When dishing up your meal, opt to use a smaller plate, so that even if you pile it high with food, you are still consuming less. Always limit yourself to one serving, too. If you avoid a second helping, you’ll feel better in the long run.