After overeating on Thanksgiving, you’re feeling so stuffed and exhausted it can be tough to get motivated to do much of anything. It can be tempting to binge watch Netflix, shop online for Black Friday deals and eat leftovers. And with the kids at home bored and pining for your attention, sitting them in front of the iPad all day sounds like a good plan.
But let’s be honest: the next few weeks will be filled with holiday parties, school concerts, family get-togethers and plenty of treats, which isn’t good for anyone in your family.
With some simple and manageable strategies however, you can get your family back on track after Thanksgiving and keep them healthy throughout the holiday season.
1. Pack up the leftovers
To avoid overindulging on leftovers, ask guests to bring to-go containers and send them home with food.
2. Use your freezer
Portion out leftover turkey and sides and freeze them for quick and easy meals during the busy holiday season.
3. Get creative
Repurpose leftovers into new healthy meals: make turkey soup in the slow cooker and mix leftover vegetables into a frittata, for example.
4. Stay hydrated
Feeling bloated and swollen from heavy, salty foods is no fun, so make sure you and your kids drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help keep your energy levels up but since thirst can often look like hunger, it can also prevent you from grazing or overeating at your next meal.
5. Have a healthy breakfast
Instead of munching on leftover pie or pastries for breakfast, serve a healthy breakfast made up of protein and fiber: avocado toast with vegetables or oatmeal with berries and nuts, for example.
6. Get out
According to a recent survey by Meyocks, a branding and advertising agency, 35 percent of Americans take a walk, 24 percent exercise more in the days or weeks following Thanksgiving and 18 percent play with their kids.
Not only can exercising help you get back on track after overeating, but moving more can help you bond with your kids, cope with stress and get some fresh air and vitamin D which is harder to do when it’s cold out.
Sign up for a post-Thanksgiving race or go for a walk or a hike together. Take your kids ice skating or to an indoor play space or bouncy house. If you’re up for hitting the stores, walking the mall is a good idea, but stay away from the food court.
7. Help the hungry
8. Go grocery shopping
When you’re ready to re-stock your refrigerator, make a list of whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. When your kitchen is stocked, you’ll be less likely to go out for dinner during the holiday season and you’ll have healthy food on hand for your kids.
9. Start juicing
Making fresh juices or smoothies in the morning is a great way for everyone in the family to get several servings of fruits and vegetables. Be sure to make your juices or smoothies with mostly vegetables and some fruit to keep the sugar content in check.
10. Get plenty of sleep
Holiday stress and the busyness of the season can make it challenging for both you and your kids to settle down at night and get enough sleep. Not only does sleep deprivation make you feel more stressed, but ghrelin, “the hunger hormone” that tells your body to eat rises and leptin, the hormone that decreases appetite, slows down so you’ll be more likely to overeat.