Nothing can be more fulfilling and fun than having a big family dinner. This usually occurs during holidays like Christmas and New Year or special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduation days. When this happens, expect family members to overeat, ending up feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.
But here's the catch: Nearly half of adults (49%) report feeling disappointed after overeating or eating unhealthily. About 46% feel bad about their bodies and more than one-third (36%) say they feel sluggish after doing so.
So, how do you avoid overeating during a big family dinner? Read on to get answers to this crucial question and earn some practical dining tips.
6 Practical Tips To Avoid Overindulging in a Family Dinner
A lot of people look forward to having a big family dinner. That happens when family members return to their hometown, spend holidays with their loved ones, or celebrate special occasions.
Unfortunately, it's easy to see family members binge-eating by giving way to their covetousness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that obesity affects four out of ten Americans. Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, which are the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
Fret not; there are healthy ways to celebrate your family's success or grace a special occasion without overindulging. All it takes is discipline, no matter the tons of gastronomical treats on the table. That said, here's how to avoid overeating during a big dinner:
1. Eat Slowly but Surely
First, try not to eat too fast during a big family dinner. Hold your horses and put your fork down between bites! That way, you'll avoid feeling rushed and have more time to savor each bite. Besides, eating slowly is one way to prevent common digestive issues.
(And speaking of bites... did you know that brushing your teeth is a great time to get in some exercise? No, really! Here’s the best list of which exercises will give you the most bang for your brush-buck.)
Brian Nagele, CEO of Restaurant Clicks, recommends some of the best restaurants in different U.S. cities. "But what we tell foodies is to enjoy their treats by taking the time to eat. This means not rushing and savoring each flavor. You'll be surprised how this lets you enjoy your food without overeating."
2. Opt for Healthy Foods
John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff, always suggests choosing healthy foods when eating. "Even if it's a big dinner, you won't go wrong if you pick what you put on the plate. Ultimately, having a balanced diet is key." Below are some healthy foods John recommends:
- Whole Fruits: Eating fresh fruits like apples, bananas, and berries is a great way to start on your plate. They are easy-to-digest foods that do more than help you lose weight. They're also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are best for your body.
- Lean Protein: Chicken and fish are good options for a protein-rich dish. They will give you energy and keep you full longer. They are also beneficial for your muscle growth in the long run.
- Dairy Products: Low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese are packed with calcium, keeping your bones strong and your body functioning properly. However, opt for those without added sugars and artificial flavors.
- Tofu: This food is a vegan protein made from soybeans, containing all essential amino acids. Also, Tofu is considered a good source of calcium and vitamin B12. Lastly, it has a high water content that can keep you full for longer.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Nancy Mitchell, RN at Assisted Living, recommends having enough hydration to avoid overeating. "Drinking lots of water helps you feel fuller, making you less likely to overeat. In fact, studies show how your brain tricks you, not knowing whether you're actually hungry or simply thirsty. Drink enough water, and you'll see how it suffices your thirst or hunger."
Keep in mind that water is essential for keeping your body functioning properly. Not only does it hydrate you, but it also gets rid of toxins in your body. Drinking enough water will reduce your chance of developing health conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
4. Regulate Alcohol Intake
It's crucial to control your alcohol consumption during a big family dinner. Go for lower-calorie options like wine and light beer instead of hard liquor. Since these drinks have lower alcohol content, you'll still enjoy the night without risking weight gain and other health problems. Besides, having a pre-drink meal will help curb your food cravings later on!
Paul Kushner, CEO of My Bartender, offers some of the best cocktails in town. However, he suggests limiting alcohol intake to one to two drinks during special occasions. "Alcohol loosens inhibitions and can lead to overeating. Aside from controlling your alcohol cravings, have something in your stomach before drinking so you don't get carried away."
5. Stay away from the Kitchen
Trying to avoid overeating? Don't hang out in the kitchen so you won't get drawn by the tempting sights and smells. Chances are, you cannot resist the temptation to eat if you're just a few steps away. Instead, find something else to do in another room, like watching TV, playing mobile games, or chatting with family members.
Here's the problem: It's easy to fall into the trap of going to the kitchen and having another round of treats. Doing so can be particularly problematic unless you take a weed diet to control your appetite. As such, get a smaller plate and sit far away from the food or the kitchen. That way, you'll feel less likely to snack or eat again.
6. Stop When Full and Satisfied
When it comes to eating, many people often overlook one key aspect: feeling satisfied. Some stop eating once they are full; Others love to give in to their covetousness. So, learn to observe your cravings during a big family dinner!
Kevin Le Gall, Owner and Lead Editor at Climbing House, underscores the importance of listening to your body. "It's best to be aware of your body and when to stop once you feel full. This way, you'll avoid overindulging and developing unhealthy relationships with foods. Remember, however, that this takes self-awareness and discipline."
The Bottom Line
While a big dinner is a time to enjoy good food with your family, it's also when many of you might end up overeating. Not only does it make you feel full and bloated, but it can also put your health at risk.
If you're worried about this, consider our practical tips recommended above. That way, you can control your appetite and still enjoy the time with your family and friends. In the end, healthy eating is key, whether a big or small dinner!
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.