No need to stuff yourself just because it’s Thanksgiving | PostIndependent.com
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No need to stuff yourself just because it’s Thanksgiving

Amanda Holt Miller
Western Garfield County Staff

The pilgrims had a big feast at the first Thanksgiving. And it’s easy to imagine our ravenous founders scarfing down big bites of turkey knowing there wouldn’t be any leftovers for a sandwich the next day.

That’s not the case today and we don’t have to gorge ourselves just because it’s a holiday, said Michelle Hosac, the registered dietitian at Grand River Medical Center in Rifle.

“Pace yourself,” Hosac said. “You don’t have to eat it all. You will get more food tomorrow. We tend to forget that in this country and go overboard because it’s Thanksgiving.”



The key to maintaining good health during the holidays, Hosac said, is to eat in moderation.

She suggests sampling the pies and cakes by taking small pieces or bites rather than an entire piece. She also recommends stopping when full.



Many of the foods popular at Thanksgiving are actually healthy foods, Hosac said. Turkey is full of nutrients and is a good source of protein.

“Just don’t eat the skin and remember that light meat has less fat than dark meat,” Hosac said.

The skin is a large source of fats and calories without offering much in the way of nutrition.

Nuts and cranberries are also excellent heart-healthy foods. They contain phytochemicals, which significantly decrease the risk of heart disease.

“Nuts lower the bad cholesterol while leaving the good cholesterol,” Hosac said.

Whole grain stuffing is also healthy. It contains many soluble fibers, which sweep bad fats out of the blood stream.

Hosac suggests loading up on fruits and vegetables at big holiday meals in order to avoid going for the extra sugary and extra fatty foods.

When it comes to cooking, Hosac recommends using herbs to season food rather than salt and fat. Olive oil is an excellent alternative to butter and other oils, she said.

Olive oil is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial fats that we don’t tend to get enough of, Hosac said.

Turkey contains tryptophan, which releases serotonin, causing people to feel particularly relaxed after eating it. Some people might also experience a “carb let-down” after a large Thanksgiving meal. A big carbohydrate intake can result in a lethargic feeling.

To combat holiday sleepiness, Hosac suggests going for a walk after a big meal.

“Exercise is really one of the most important things,” Hosac said. “During the holiday, if someone eats just an extra 100 calories a day, they will gain two pounds.”

Those who are regularly active, don’t need to do any more than usual, Hosac said. But they shouldn’t slow down either.

“People tend to get really busy during the holidays,” Hosac said. “They have to go shopping or go to a party. It’s a lot easier to skip a workout for most people than it is to skip a party. They need to keep up with their normal activity and routines.”


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