Thanksgiving is just a week away! As you know from my last blog post, I will not tell you to change or swap any of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. However, I will provide a few tips you can incorporate next Thursday to help you stay energized for all of the day’s activities such as Black Friday shopping, putting up holiday decorations, or cheering on the Dallas Cowboys.
Stress can cause indigestion and increased blood pressure. If you took on the responsibility of providing Thanksgiving dinner to twenty loved ones, there are a few ways to reduce your stress. Play your favorite music or movie in the background, take intermittent breaks for a few deep breaths, delegate tasks such as cleaning, dinner table setup, trash takeout, and dishwashing, and ask for help in the kitchen! If you’re traveling, pack snacks and water, take turns driving, wear comfortable clothes, and bring noise-canceling headphones onto the plane.
Add Fiber to Your Plate
While I find no need to replace your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, I do recommend adding sides rich in fiber to your plate. Fiber helps move food along your digestive tract, and soluble fibers in foods such as beans, oats, and Brussels sprouts can decrease cholesterol absorption. For an extra bonus, fruits and vegetables also provide potassium and water which are beneficial for blood pressure management.
Here are some easy ideas for fiber-rich sides:
Drink water between and during meals for hydration. Water breaks down your food, lessens bloating from excess sodium, carries nutrients to your cells, and moves waste away. Pair water with your fiber-rich sides to soften and move the foods easily through your digestive tract.
The current Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for water per day is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. This can include water from other drinks and food sources like coffee, soups, vegetables, and fruits. Dehydration can cause fatigue and weakness, so drink up!
Take your time, eat slowly, and enjoy the food. Many hormones in your body are working while you’re eating to regulate your appetite by signaling hunger, giving you fullness cues, and releasing the necessary hormones to use up the new nutrients coming in. Because of this process, it takes your body some time to tell your brain that it’s full. Have you ever eaten so much and then a food coma hits you out of nowhere? By the time your brain received the signal, you already consumed too much! A food coma zaps your energy and can slow you down for hours. Take your time eating, and your body will let you know when it’s done. Remember, you can always have leftovers later!
Go for a Pre- and Post-Meal Walk
Just 15 minutes makes a difference! Not only will you burn some calories, but you will also enjoy the cooler weather, boost your mood, lessen stress, lower your blood pressure, and bond with family and friends as you walk together. If the weather is not cooperative outside, get some physical activity by doing work around the house or following a short workout or dance video on YouTube.
By following these tips, you will feel energized throughout the day, and your body will thank you for providing everything it needs for easy digestion. My husband and I will be completing a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning with friends, enjoying our favorite dishes with a side of roasted broccoli and fresh fruit, and catching up on movies. Tell me below how you plan on incorporating these tips!
Jane Pelcher, RDN
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist focused on helping everyone love nutrition through cooking! My blogs provide new home cooks with basic cooking skills and grocery shopping tips. Most importantly, I strive to teach the nutrition behind the foods you cook to help you understand how specific foods can better your health and prevent chronic diseases. I hope you embark on this journey with me!