Thanksgiving is a time for food, families… and more food. So what can you do to help mitigate the ensuing turkey coma this year? Keep these few tricks in mind to help reduce the day-after guilt:

The Little Things Count

Do some squats while you are checking on the turkey, calf raises while stirring the gravy and lunges while setting the table. The day may feel busy but there are many small opportunities to fit in a bit of fitness here and there. Look for windows of 2 minutes or so to squeeze in some activity to keep your circulation moving. And don’t forgot about your Teeter – just a few minutes can help you decompress and re-energize throughout the day!

Enjoy Every Bite

Thanksgiving does only come once a year, and there is no reason to deny yourself of all the tasty food that comes across your plate. Just keep in mind that Thanksgiving is a day of thankfulness – remember that as you take each bite. Taste each flavor as you chew it and try to identify all the different ingredients that went into each dish. Savor every bite instead of quickly eating as much as you can fit on your plate. Four or five bites can be more satisfying than second and third helpings if you concentrate on the flavors rather than the volume.

Take a Post-Meal Family Walk

After dinner, instead of dozing on the couch or watching football, take your family out for a five or ten minute walk to enjoy the last few days of autumn before the Christmas season finally kicks in. Crisp air will help refresh you and the gentle movement will help promote digestion, leaving you feeling in better spirits for the rest of the evening.

Embrace the Chores

Sure, you may have a mountain of dishes to tackle at the end of the night, but count it as exercise as you do it. Instead of ducking out on chores, volunteer for the ones that allow you to move the most. Take out the garbage, hand dry the roasting pan and put it back into storage right away. If you can look at post-dinner chores as an opportunity for additional movement, you may get them done more quickly (anything to raise your heart rate a bit!) and they may seem like less of a burden.

Hydrate

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and go easy on the alcohol. Drinking lots of water will make you feel less hungry when the big meal roles around and reducing your alcohol intake will make you feel less groggy after the meal. Alcohol also reduces your inhibitions and ambition – so while that second glass of wine may look tempting, it may also be a factor in leading you to another plate of mashed potatoes and a post-meal nap.

 
 
Photo courtesy of EdselL, http://www.flickr.com/photos/edsel_/5213218764/sizes/m/in/photostream/