Resist the urge to over-correct after a gluttonous, glorious Thanksgiving Day. Even the midnight turkey sandwich is fine, fine, fine. The best way to keep from sliding into daily gorges through New Year's Day, and the bloated, tight-pants feeling that comes with the holidays, is to just let bygones be bygones and start fresh every day.
Make good choices. Here's are some ways to do that:
Save eating splurges for big parties and get-togethers. Use the day after any big eating event to reset. That starts, as it should every morning, with a healthy breakfast to get your spiking and crashing blood sugar levels back on track.
So you might have had way more than the recommended daily allowance of salt, which is easy to do with all that gravy, stuffing and deliciously brined turkey.
Flush out the excess, and also boost your metabolism, by rehydrating. That means drinking whenever you feel thirsty (eight 8-oz. glasses of water is easy to remember), more if your body craves it (and it doesn't leave you feeling bloated). Take in whatever you can that leaves you feeling satisfied.
Besides giving you the caffeine hit you might be looking for, antioxidant-rich green tea will also help clear your head if you woke up a little hungover from holiday wine and football game beers.
A green tea matcha latte is a nice treat and might help fight your day-after cravings for another plate of rich foods.
Roobios tea, now widely available, is a naturally sweet tea made from South African red bush plant leaves. It's said to be good for your gut and loaded with flavonoids that supposedly inhibit the formation of fat cells.
The same chemicals might aid the metabolism of fat, which is worth a shot. A cuppa adds to your liquids intake, so it's win-win.
Now is not the time to cut caffeine if you're a regular coffee drinker. It's a stimulant and may help suppress your raging appetite brought on by spikes and crashes of blood sugar from yesterday's overindulgence.
Since the day after Thanksgiving is all about returning our bodies to the state we left them in the Wednesday before, give it what it wants. And, anyway, coffee is loaded with antioxidants and yet another metabolic booster. Drink up!
Now is also the time to bulk up on fiber and nutrients that might have been cooked out of (or overshadowed by sugar on) the Turkey Day side dishes. Bake up a sweet potato, but this time top it with butter, salt and pepper. Be sure to eat the skin, which is packed with vitamins and rich with antioxidants. It's also loaded with fiber and filling enough that it might serve as a one-item meal.
Pull out yesterday's crudite platter and load up with the rest of the veggies in the fridge's crisper drawer. Pull out whatever works as a dip—hummus, leftover mashed sweet potatoes, salad dressing—and snack on these the rest of the day. They're filled with water, which helps you rehydrate. Veggies also replenish vitamin stores, which is never a bad idea this time of year.
They're naturally low in sodium and just feel virtuous to crunch on. They'll fill you up around the edges, when your pie cravings kick in.
After all the refined sugar on the Thanksgiving Day table, fresh, cold fruit salad is the kind of sweetness that really hits the spot. Fruit has a lot of fiber, antioxidants and it's perfect for next-day grazing. If the peels are edible, leave them on. That extra blast of fiber and nutrients will go toward getting you back on track.
Boil the turkey carcass and then use the bone broth either as a warm beverage (add salt to taste) or as the base of a nice veggie soup (shredded turkey optional).
Much like chicken soup, turkey broths and soups fill you up without being too rich, help you relax and restore the body's natural order of things. Plus, it's a great way to sneak in more veggies, vitamins and other good stuff.
Capsaicin, the stuff in peppers that makes them spicy, is a natural metabolism booster. So add these to whatever you like to eat spicy—soups, salads, as sandwich toppings or in next-day breakfast omelets.
A recent study found metabolism-boosting qualities in non-spicy peppers, too, so if you don't like the burn, you don't have to miss out. Load up on peppers wherever you can.
Eggs, fortified milk, tuna and salmon: Load up on all the foods that are significant sources of vitamin D. It, too, affects the metabolism; in this case, it preserves muscle tissue.
The day after Thanksgiving might be a good time to start a vitamin D supplement—only 20 percent of Americans get enough from their diet alone. A bowl of fortified cereal could do the trick, too, as will sitting out in the sun.
Maintaining a healthy weight means not overdoing it on the carbs. So, eliminate as many as you can where you can. Go ahead and have that next-day turkey sandwich, but cut the carb load in half by making it open-face (or skipping the bread altogether).
Think hipster avocado toast with holiday appeal.
Potassium will help you deal with the post-holiday meal bloat by carrying away all that extra salt that's now got you retaining water. It also helps keep nerves and muscles functioning well, so if you went on the holiday/post-holiday run, loading up on potassium-rich foods will aid in the recovery.
Think lima beans, spinach, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, salmon and mushrooms. And, of course everyone's favorite postassium stick: the banana.
The day after Thanksgiving is not when you want to start a cleanse or any kind of severe calorie restrictions. Your blood sugar levels are so out of whack, you need to ease into cutting back. If you cut back before your body is ready, taking your calorie count down to 800 to 1,200 per day, your body may start feeding off the muscle tissue.
Instead of severe restrictions, let yourself eat what you want throughout the day. Just commit to no more eating after sunset. This mini-fast (from around 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. or later) will rev up your metabolism, bring your sugar levels into check and help you lose weight if that's the goal.
It's a great strategy on days you think another piece of leftover pecan pie sounds like a good idea (because pecan pie is always a good idea).
Pumpkin pie is always a good idea, too. If you keep thinking about pie during your Black Friday store runs and afternoon football games on TV, go ahead and have a piece. Or two. It won't be there forever.
Thanksgiving (and the day after) is only once a year. You can get back on track one forkful, more or less, at a time.
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