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How can I help my family avoid the infamous “crash” after a heavy Thanksgiving meal?


Bailey Noble is a registered dietitian at Cardon Children’s Medical Center.

Question: How can I help my family avoid the infamous “crash” after a heavy Thanksgiving meal?

Answer: Many people think that tryptophan, a component of the protein found in turkey, is the main cause for drowsiness on Thanksgiving. But the bird is not completely to blame, as many other factors contribute to that Thanksgiving “crash.”

Indulgent amounts of carbohydrates like stuffing, dinner rolls and dessert and oversized portions are the real culprits responsible for the drowsiness you may feel after Thanksgiving dinner. 

Limiting your family’s portions on Thanksgiving can be difficult, but doing so can have a positive impact on mood and health. Encourage your family to focus on a balanced meal by making half of you plate vegetables with a  healthy serving of turkey (about the size of a deck of cards) and smaller amounts of stuffing, gravy, dinner rolls and dessert. Don’t “save up” your appetite for the big meal either. Rather, make sure to kick-start your metabolism in the morning with a balanced breakfast to avoid over-indulgence at dinner.  Avoid overeating in general to help with the sleepy and irritable effects after a holiday meal.  

Encouraging your family to get moving after Thanksgiving dinner will also help stave off fatigue. Organizing a walk or a touch football game is an ideal way to boost energy and escape the after-dinner crash. And a post-meal activity will remind everyone of the true meaning of the holiday, by spending quality time with family and friends.

For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call 480-412-KIDS.

Page Last Modified: 11/01/2012
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