Staying Safe, Stress-Free For Thanksgiving

Tips on eating right and easing anxieties

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

THURSDAY, Nov. 25, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Keep yourself and your family safe and healthy this Thanksgiving by following these tips from Harvard Health Publications:

  • Guard against food poisoning by washing meat and produce before handling them, cooking food thoroughly, and immediately refrigerating or freezing leftovers. Never leave food out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F).
  • Take a break before you decide whether you need to eat a second serving. Wait seven minutes after you finish your first serving. It takes about that long for the food to reach your digestive system and decrease your appetite.
  • Between dinner and dessert, gather your family and friends to go outside and take a walk. This kind of light exercise will help you digest, decrease stress and burn off some of the holiday meal calories.

If you start to feel stressed by all the holiday commotion, retreat to the bathroom or any other private spot and try the following stress relievers:

  • Place your hand just beneath your navel and feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in and pause for a count of three. Breathe out and pause for a count of three. Continue to do this for one minute.
  • While sitting, check your body for tension. Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to fall open slightly. Let your shoulders sag and your arms fall to your sides. Loosen your hands so that there's space between the fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Let your thighs sink into the chair and your legs to fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves get heavier and your feet meld with the floor. Breathe in and out slowly. Each time you breathe, try to relax even more.

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has advice on safe turkey cooking.

SOURCE: Harvard Health Publications, news release, Nov. 3, 2004

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