With the holidays upon us, we turned to our very own Aspen Valley Hospital Dietitians—Kristy, Sandy and Laurie—to answer some common questions about eating healthier during the holidays. Plus, we have included some tasty recipes to try! This is Part 1 of 5, so stay tuned for more helpful information and delicious dishes.
Our Wonderful Dietitians:
Sandra Holmes Kristy Bates Laureen Osier
How do I avoid getting so tired after eating holiday meals?
It’s normal to feel sleepy after a large holiday meal. Keep in mind, meals rich in carbohydrates can exacerbate this feeling. Carbohydrate-rich sides and desserts cause a burst of insulin to be released into the bloodstream. This, in turn, causes an increase in the influx of tryptophan into the brain. We all know tryptophan as the secret ingredient to turkey that always makes us to tired during Thanksgiving, right? Actually, tryptophan is a neurotransmitter precursor to the synthesis and release of serotonin. Serotonin slows down the nerve traffic in your brain causing you to become more satisfied and relaxed.
To avoid or lessen this response, be sure to eat a balanced meal. Incorporate protein-rich foods when eating a meal that contains carbohydrates. Listen to hunger signals and stop eating when you feel satisfied to avoid overeating. Planning for a walk or some kind of exercise after a meal to get your blood circulating can also help minimize these symptoms. Remember, the holidays are a time for celebration. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you get off-track from your regular routine.