Even the most disciplined among us can overdo it at Thanksgiving. On average, Americans gain 1 to 2 pounds from overeating and inactivity during the holiday season.

To help feel your best and avoid the post-meal slump, here are some tips to get you through your Thanksgiving meal.

Pace yourself

By recognizing that the “brain to belly” connection takes a full 20 minutes to register, you’re better able to assess when it’s time to put the fork down and stop eating.

Eat more protein and less carbohydrates

Stick with turkey and low-starch vegetables as potatoes and stuffing can cause blood sugar levels to spike, then crash.

Eat in moderation

Depriving yourself of your favorite foods can lead to overindulgence the next day. So having a bite or two of your favorite dessert or side dish instead of abstaining completely may actually be beneficial in the long run.

Keep Active

With the social commitments of the holiday season, it’s easy to skip or decrease your workout sessions. But a little exercise before or after the big meal helps keep triglyceride levels in check for as much as 12 hours afterwards. Exercising after the meal can also help aid in digestion and keep your energy levels up. So going for a brisk walk or cleaning up after the meal is a great way to get in some physical activity.

Avoid or limit alcohol intake

Not only does drinking too much stress the digestive system, it can also lead to feelings of inhibition, which can lead overeating.

Strive for a Thanksgiving lunch instead of dinner

As energy levels are strongly dictated by the body’s natural circadian rhythms, eating earlier in the day can help ward off the sluggishness that often sets in when you eat too late.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/holiday-foods-diet

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/stomach-full-stop-eating-3080.html

http://projects.nytimes.com/qa/events/thanksgiving-help-line/question/8060

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22914246