FEATURE – Everybody knows Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflecting on one’s blessings – but let’s be real: Thanksgiving is also about feasting.
You only get that scrumptious turkey dinner with all the trimmings once a year, so make it count by following a few key stomach-stretching tips to enable maximum gorge-ability on turkey day. Why have one piece of pie when you can have three, right?
Tip No. 1 – Slow and steady eats the most
We know, we know – that turkey, gravy and stuffing smells so mouthwateringly delectable that you just want to dive deep like Scrooge McDuck into a pile of money – but bear this in mind before you start gobbling: Chowing down fast also fills you up fast. If you scarf your first plate of food, you may not have room for seconds. Eating quickly makes you feel full faster, so treat that overflowing plate like a first date and take it slow. Chew your food, savor the flavor, and allow your stomach to keep up with your mouth.
Tip No. 2 – No starving, no way
It may seem logical to go hungry Thanksgiving morning in order to save room for that big dinner, but experts say leaving your tummy empty by skipping breakfast and avoiding prefeast snacks may actually cause your tummy to tighten up, leaving less room in your breadbasket for those rolls, yams and other yummy turkey day delights. In addition, if you hit the dinner table with an empty belly, you’re more likely to hoover that food in a fat hurry, which will cause you to fill up faster (see tip No. 1).
Tip No. 3 – Savor the salt
In keeping with tip No. 2, it’s wise to stretch your tummy with some snacks while the turkey is a-cookin’ – and salty snacks in particular can help sharpen up your appetite, according to Fox News Health. Salty noshes aren’t much more than quick-digesting simple carbs, Fox News reports, and they can prompt insulin spikes and make you crave a sweet followup. Also, due to a phenomenon called “sensory specific satiety,” chomping on salty snacks makes your “salty stomach” feel full but your “sweet stomach” feel deprived. So if you want an extra digestive drive before hitting the dessert table, snack on a little something salty.
Tip No. 4 – They call ‘em “fat pants” for a reason
If you want to set records at the Thanksgiving table, don’t show up to dinner in your skinny jeans. Tight clothing puts pressure on the abdomen, which poses an everyday challenge for people with disorders like gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome, but tight clothes will also wreak havoc on any disorder-free tummy at turkey time. It comes down to a decision: fashion or feasting? If you want to feed freely at your Thanksgiving feast, wear some comfy sweats or stretch pants and a loose-fitting shirt. A muumuu might be taking things a bit too far – but I’ll leave that between you and your pie. If you want to go the fashionable route and impress your relatives or dinner guests with a slim-fit outfit, just know you’ll likely be sacrificing your seconds and thirds in the bargain.
Tip No. 5 – Avoid the water trough
Consuming beverages makes you feel full, and some health experts take it a step further, asserting that drinking during a meal dilutes the stomach’s digestive juices and lowers the temperature of the tummy, thereby slowing digestion, filling your belly up faster and leaving those vittles sitting in there longer. So if you bypass the beverages, you’ll increase your capacity for hearty horfing. If you simply must have something to drink during Thanksgiving dinner, minimize your liquid intake as much as possible and only indulge in small sips to satiate your thirst.
Disclaimer: If your fingers are poised over the keyboard to type an accusatory comment that I’m advocating gluttony, I’ll save you the trouble: Heck yeah, I am – IT’S THANKSGIVING. So relax and grab another turkey leg – or Tofurky leg, if that’s your pleasure – and smile and give thanks for the blessings in your life. If you still feel like reaming me for obesity advocacy, clearly you haven’t had enough to eat yet – go have some more pie first, then see how you feel.
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