3 Thanksgiving Foods That Can Ruin Your Mood If You're Not Careful, According To Experts
The holidays can be a tricky time of year, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving. You're likely seeing tons of family members you normally don't talk to, which, depending on the circumstances, could be a good or bad thing. If it's a bad thing, the holiday spirit itself is usually enough to help everyone get along a little, but then again, there are Thanksgiving foods that can ruin your mood, and thus ruin all the progress you're trying to make in your relationship with that one weird uncle who married into the family last year.
But listen, if the foods on this list happen to include some of your absolute favorite Thanksgiving delicacies, that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them at all. Rather, it's all about striking a healthy balance with the foods you put on your plate, and maybe revamping some of those dishes to make them just a bit more nutrient-dense.
In other words, there's no need to restrict yourself this Thanksgiving. Go ahead and eat exactly what you're craving — just make a note that the following three foods might be to blame if you're suddenly feeling too sour to sit down and listen to yet another story about your aunt's annoying new chihuahua.
According to Kara Landau, registered dietitian and founder of Uplift Food, sugar-rich, nutrient-low foods are most likely to have a negative effect on your mood — and sadly, the pecan pie at your Thanksgiving feast probably falls into that exact category.
"Instead of going for a sugar-rich pie at dessert, why not be the person who brings some healthier options that are both lower in sugar, and higher in anti-inflammatory, gut-healthy nutrients?" Landau tells Elite Daily over email. "Try some baked apples with cinnamon and topped with Greek yogurt."
I don't know about you, but that still sounds pretty dang tasty to me.
Who among us hasn't gorged on potatoes at some point, especially mashed potatoes? IMO, spuds are kind of similar to ice cream, in that it's somehow so easy to keep eating the stuff, even when you feel like your stomach's about to burst. But, according to Landau, eating lots of carb-heavy dishes like mashed potatoes can definitely have an effect on your mood.
"Instead of having a large serving," she suggests, "go for a roasted potato that has cooled a little. When you roast and then cool a potato, you develop a gut-healthy prebiotic called resistant starch, and this both helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels [and to] feed the good bacteria in your gut, leading to a reduction in inflammation to support a good mood."
I know, I know, what the heck is Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce? But again, much like pecan pie, it's the high sugar content in this dish that can ruin your mood, says Arianne Perry, certified health coach and co-founder/CEO of Sweet Defeat. "Cranberries are naturally tart, so many recipes are loaded with sugar," she tells Elite Daily in an email.
If you're looking for alternatives, Sweet Defeat has some low-sugar Thanksgiving recipes you can check out. But really, Perry explains, as long as you make sure that you have some nutrient-dense veggies to eat in addition to things like cranberry sauce, you're golden. "Building a Thanksgiving plate that includes leafy greens and veggies with traditional dishes like turkey, potatoes, cornbread, and cranberries is the best way to balance your plate and palate," she says, "and avoid feeling stuffed."