Why You Shouldn’t Skip Meals at the Holidays

We all try to remain healthy during the holidays. As much as we might want to indulge at Thanksgiving, blood sugar concerns and health goals can make us feel like we’re being held back from joining in the fun. We hear so many tips and suggestions for how to get through the holidays. We want to focus on a piece of advice we heard that we think is terrible.

People may tell you to skip meals and save calories for the main event. We disagree. So do experts. Changing your routine can upset your mental state. “Hanger” can ruin your day at normal times. Add in the stress of a holiday, and you might end up snappy instead of enjoying your day!

Following a regular eating schedule helps maintain healthy blood sugar. Keeping your blood sugar steady makes you feel better, and avoiding fluctuations can help you enjoy your holiday more! Blood sugar dips can also cause brain fog and fatigue and slow your metabolism. When you’re spending time with friends and family, you want to be in your best spirits!

Your blood sugar decreases, which causes interruption in your ability to think straight,” explained Haley Robinson, a Piedmont clinical dietitian. “The brain uses glucose to run efficiently and if there is not enough glucose for the brain to use, your body does not function at 100 percent. This causes your cells and body to crave food which causes you to eat a lot. We usually tend to crave unhealthy foods and all attempts at eating healthy go out the door. When you are that hungry, anything goes.”

A better plan is to eat a fiber-rich breakfast that will help you feel full for longer. Starting your day with protein and fiber can keep you on track. That means that when you sit down to your holiday meal, you’re less likely to overeat. Of course, having delicious food can lead us to overeat. However, we’re more likely to overeat when we sit down hungry. We also frequently make poorer food choices when we’re hungry: our eyes are bigger than our belly, and those eyes might not go for the veggies first.

Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York Univ., explained, “Number one, there is a psychological component going on.” When you “save your calories for later” you’re mentally forgiving yourself for overeating before doing so. “You really want to keep your blood sugar steady so you aren’t hungry. If you’re hungry, you’ll just grab the first thing you see mindlessly.”

At the holidays, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the food. But, so much more important is spending time with friends and loved ones, enjoying the traditions. So, instead of skipping meals or focusing too much on food, enjoy catching up with people you don’t often see, helping in the kitchen, playing with the kids! And, remember, feeling gratitude for our lives and the things that bring us happiness is the point of Thanksgiving. Embrace that feeling, and savoring a small slice of pumpkin pie becomes that much more enjoyable and make you feel like you aren’t denying yourself!
November 20, 2019
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