Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re glad you’re joining us. We want to jump right in with our friend of the show, dietitian J.J. Mayo. Hi J.J. How are you today?
J.J. Mayo: Great, Michelle, and yourself? I’m excited to be here.
MR: Doing well. Thank you. You know, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Our brains may already be there. We’re planning menus, we’re looking at travel, we’re getting ready … J.J., how do we not lose our minds when it comes to eating at Thanksgiving? Because some will have Thanksgiving, not just on Thursday, but also on Friday and maybe on Saturday.
JM: With all these holidays, especially Thanksgiving, it’s a time we get together, and I think it’s about having the right focus because really the focus during these holidays should be around family, right? But as you said, most of the time we focus on the food. The first thing I would say to your audience is that, hey, the first thing we need to do is focus on the family and not so much the food. But food is going to come into play. And so, realize that’s the reason it’s called Thanksgiving Day, it’s one day. If you allow yourself to indulge a little bit on one day, it’s not going to set you back. It’s not going to set your health back. But like you said, a lot of times we don’t do that, do we? We make it start on Wednesday and then it’s Thursday and then it’s Sunday and you’re still overeating into the next week. I think the first thing is to realize that it should be about family. But also, if you just focus on that one day, and I realize people are going to be traveling with other family members and going to different events, but if you really focus on enjoying it that one day, I don’t think you’re going to go wrong.
MR: What about those who, because of family situations, they’ve got Thanksgiving at lunch and then they turn right around a couple of hours later and have Thanksgiving dinner? How do you manage to be able to participate with both sides of the family or the groups that you’re with, but not feel like a pumpkin yourself when you lay down for bed that night?
JM: I think planning is key. One of the things you can do is limit your alcohol. If you’re going to have alcohol on Thanksgiving Day, cut back on the next couple of meals that you have with other family members. Another tip is to have a small snack before you go to these big gatherings, and make those snacks healthy so that by the time you get there you won’t eat as much. Finally, if you know there’s going to be a bunch of unhealthy food, make an entree yourself, your favorite Thanksgiving entrée, and take it with you. That way you know you’ve got something there that you know you can eat and feel good about and not just be smothered in gravy and biscuits and all the good things. You can have some of those, you just can’t overdo A lot of people have excuses and stories of why they must overeat. They say, “Oh, it only comes around one time of year, so I’ve got to really indulge.” The food’s going to be there. Focus on the family and try to cut back a little bit on the food. That goes a long way.
MR: Let’s talk about travel, not only for the Thanksgiving holiday but even with the upcoming Christmas holidays. What are some snacks or some tips that we can take with us as we are doing the airport shuffle?
JM: Whether you’re flying on a plane or driving in a car, planning is going to be key. If you don’t want to have to stop on your long drive at McDonald’s, then I would suggest bringing a cooler with some things that are healthier. You can bring snacks like nuts or vegetables, or even dried fruit because they’re portable. You can even bring sandwiches. Keep them in a cooler in the car or stick them in your carry-on for a plane ride.
MR: That’s good advice. Okay, let’s talk about the importance of getting some exercise after you eat that big meal and not just going and laying on the couch and falling off into a turkey-induced coma.
JM: Exercise is going to be important because you probably will, let’s admit it, be eating more calories than what you typically would on a regular Thursday. Exercise is going to help you burn off those calories. I suggest making it, like I said, all about the family. Take your spouse or your family out for a walk around the neighborhood. There are all kinds of turkey trots in different cities. You could get the family and make it a family event to offset some of the food that you’re consuming during Thanksgiving. Exercise is always good. And hey, let’s be honest, we’ve got a few family members that we need to get out of the house for a little bit to get a break from. Getting out of the house for exercise is going to be a stress relief in more than one way.
MR: That’s good advice. J.J., thanks as always.
JM: Thanks so much, Michelle. I appreciate it.