Thanksgiving is the easiest time of the year to shamelessly add a couple of pounds to your frame, and as soon as you’re done gorging on three plates of turkey and mashed potatoes, you’re going to want nothing more than to take a nap on the couch and watch football. It never fails.
Food comas are usually caused by lots of sugar consumption, and overeating in general, so you can imagine why that’s a recipe for disaster during Thanksgiving.
We spoke with Jacob Bustos, cooking coach and author of When Food is Your Frenemy, and he gave some crucial tips on how to beat that usually inevitable food coma, AKA, The Itis.
Bustos said he doesn’t want to be “the food police,” and you should be able to enjoy every dish this Thanksgiving, but he also wants us to be aware that the average Thanksgiving meal consists of 4,500 calories, and it couldn’t hurt to be a little mindful of it.
However, if you still want to enjoy your holiday meals without feeling sleepy and useless, there are little things you can do beat that food coma:
Don’t Skip Meals Throughout the Day
It’s Thanksgiving and you’re starving yourself throughout the day so you can go apeshit on the big meal, but that’s a guaranteed one way trip to Snoozeville. Eat breakfast, eat lunch, and eat a snack before dinner. If you eat on your regular schedule instead of trying to go Hungry Hungry Hippo all at once, you’ll be in a lot better shape afterward.
Limit Your Portion Sizes
“Don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself of anything for Thanksgiving, especially since it’s the holiday that’s based around food,” Bustos said.
You can still eat everything, but if you can just cut down on the portion size of everything, maybe a little less stuffing, a little less mac & cheese, you won’t stuff yourself like crazy, feeling like Snorlax later on.
Don’t Eat The Pumpkin Pie Crust
“It’s one of my favorites (pie), probably the best part of Thanksgiving for me. I still enjoy it, but I just enjoy it without the crust.”
You may, or may not be a fan of pie crust, but Bustos suggests that getting rid of it is one of the easiest ways to cut the amount of food you eat during the night. Not to mention that it also reduces the sugar you’re taking in. You can go the extra mile and actually bake the pumpkin pie without crust, or just make life easy and eat around it.
Add Flavor To Your Food Without Adding Fat
There’s a lot of ways to do this one, but one of the examples Bustos gave revolved around the stuffing. Sure, most stuffing is made with bread crumbs, but adding cauliflower would reduce the calories immensely. Bustos also suggested using aromatics like oranges, lemon, thyme, and sage to give the turkey flavor, instead of relying on the stuffing. In lieu of buttering up the turkey, you can use olive oil as a bit of a healthier alternative.
“Layer by layer, it gives flavor without injecting (the turkey) with fat.”
Tweak Your Mashed Potatoes
It’s not unusual to make your mashed potatoes with heavy cream, or mounds of butter, but you can get just as much flavor by using chicken stock. Chicken stock is about 10 calories, while heavy cream can easily be 200 calories by the time you get to the fourth tablespoon. No heavy cream, no heavy feeling.