12 Tips for a Heart Healthy Holiday
Did you know that the average U.S. citizen gains between one and five pounds over Thanksgiving? And they tend to keep that weight, and add even more, after the holiday season. For each pound you gain, you place three pounds of pressure on your heart and lungs.
The average American Thanksgiving meal is about 5,000 calories, all in one sitting. Most of us need about 2,500. Then add alcohol and lack of physical activity, and you have a perfect storm for water retention. After one big meal, your blood vessels stiffen, and your triglyceride levels go through the roof. Exercise has been shown to make those effects go bye-bye.
Q. How long do leftovers last? Read Sam’s Answer
There are many ways to have a healthier holiday, and it begins with a little planning.
- Go for a Turkey Trot. Many communities have 5K’s or 10K runs, this is important because you’ll burn a lot of calories prior to the big meal. And you probably won’t be tempted to eat as much.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat breakfast before you start cooking the meal, that way you won’t be as nibbley.
- Plan the meal for the middle of the day. That way you save time for additional activities after dinner, like a game of football, or a walk with your loved one before dessert.
- Have a scavenger hunt for the pumpkin pies! What a great way to encourage activity while promoting this delicious time-honored dessert.
- Limit alcohol. They are empty calories that can SIGNIFICANTLY promote weight gain, one glass of wine with meal is a good strategy. And stick to red.
- Fill your plate 2/3 with veggies.
- Go for the white meat turkey. Avoid the carcinogenic ham and dark meat.
- Aim for only a bit of cranberry sauce as it’s loaded with sugar.
- Use a small plate and skip seconds. Portion control is the name of the game.
- One slice of pumpkin pie as an indulgence is enough. And choose pumpkin over apple or the decadent cheesecakes. Avoid adding whipped cream or iced creams.
- Leave the table when you’re finished eating. There’s no use sitting there, staring at all that food.
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