How to Avoid Overeating at Thanksgiving

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The only thing that should be stuffed at Thanksgiving is the turkey. Yet, most everyone falls victim to overeating during these festive times. Heck, it’s the holidays, ain’t nobody got time for diets. That said, nobody likes being like Uncle Lewis and having to go down a few belt loops in between the main course and pies. For that reason, we’ve put together a list that has worked well for us over the years to either avoid overeating or at least keep your caloric intake a bit lower.

1. Don’t Skip Meals

When you skip meals, you typically overeat and overindulge at the Thanksgiving table. Self-control is hard enough on this Holiday, but after not eating for a whole day, the thought of eating the entire turkey with a pound of mashed potatoes and Hawaiian rolls sounds doable. If you have a full breakfast, you’re less likely to snack as the feast is being prepared. A few bites here and there never hurts, but when a few bites turns into half a pie and all the corners of the sweet potato casserole, you’ll be wishing you Started Right (see what we did there?)

2. Drink lots of water, not alcohol.

This sounds pretty straight forward, but it’s incredibly effective. The more water you drink, the less volume you have in your stomach for overeating. This is the best trick to reduce caloric intake. It may not keep you from feeling stuffed, but you’ll have eaten overall less food out of a sheer lack of volume. It also helps you avoid the empty calories from alcohol and other sugar-laden drinks.

3. Buffets are all rage these days

Buffets aren’t just for brunch. If you’re hosting, consider using a buffet instead of a phat spread on the dinner table. This helps reduce the social pressure of feeling like you have to get seconds, and studies have shown that more food will be eaten if it’s in arms reach. It also helps everyone be more strategic about what they put on their first plate. You have to have room for the stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, turkey, ham, rolls, …. One trip, everyone knows the rules.

4. Stick to homemade dishes

Firstly, you don’t want to offend you’re sweet Aunt Beth by overeating chips during football and not being able to eat her lovely brussel sprout casserole. Secondly, studies actually show that you can reduce calorie consumption by 9% by simply avoiding packaged foods. You also need to be strategic on Thanksgiving, there can’t be room for everything. Those Tostitos can be eaten later.

5. Plan for leftovers

Even if your Thanksgiving dinner is served buffet-style, there always seems to be a concern over whether or not everyone will get to try everything. There’s always enough and then some. Instead of having this survival “I must try a bite of everything” mindset, plan to have leftovers and have people over throughout the weekend. This helps to reduce gorging youself at the dinner table, and, as an added bonus, extends the holiday throughout the whole weekend. Turkey Bowl halftime fuel anyone??

6. Eat slowly

Easier said than done, but it actually takes your brain up to 20 min to realize that you’re full. I know I can put away a disgusting amount of food in 20 min, and that’s probably why I go from crazy hungry to stuffed in… 20 min. If you eat slower, you’ll realize how much you’re eating before it’s too late!

7. Wear sweatpants

There are no belt loops on those puppies...