Thanksgiving is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated holidays of the year. After Halloween, some people begin decorating for Christmas and planning for December while they wish away the days of November in hopes that Christmastime will come sooner. I think that rushing through Thanksgiving is a real shame especially as someone who absolutely loves to eat.
My relationship with food throughout my life has been very positive. I've never been a very picky eater, I've always loved to try new foods, and I've always looked forward to Thanksgiving as an opportunity to eat all the most nostalgic dishes that just don't taste the same if you eat them in April. The only thing that I wish was different in my relationship with food and eating is that I always think I can eat more than I end up eating. It kills me to throw away food or be wasteful, but I always fill up way faster than I anticipate which can leave me the awful job of having to toss out sweet potatoes or mac and cheese after a Thanksgiving meal.
To help combat this, I've done some research into professional eaters, and learned how they prepare for competitions where they consume insane amounts of food. I've also looked into how to best order the food you eat so that your stomach doesn't feel full early into the meal. Below are my tips and tricks for how to best prepare for Thanksgiving dinner this year so that you can make sure you're able to eat everything on your plate without feeling overly full.
Tip 1: Prep by eating bigger meals in the days before Thanksgiving.
By eating bigger meals in the days leading up to Thanksgiving you will help to stretch out your stomach to fit more food. One common misconception about eating Thanksgiving dinner is that you should fast beforehand to eat more food. By not eating much in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, you're training your stomach to be smaller, and your brain to tell yourself that you're hungrier. This will lead to you eating ravenously at the start of the meal and then feeling completely stuffed after the first few minutes of dinner. So, in the days before Thanksgiving be sure to eat meals that will keep you feeling satisfied and that will keep your stomach at the right capacity to fit all the Thanksgiving foods you want to eat.
Tip 2: On the day of, start with carbs then protein.
By starting with carbs like potatoes and rolls, you will help start to expand your stomach before hitting some of the more filling items like proteins and fiber. Our stomachs process various foods differently, so it's important to note that starting off by eating turkey may actually make you feel fuller faster since you're digesting protein which takes more time and energy than digesting carbs.
Tip 3: End with fiber.
Whether it's green bean casserole or broccoli salad, save the veggies for last. Just like you should ease your stomach into digestion by starting off with carbs, it's a good idea to end with fiber which takes the longest to process and digest. Also, by the time you begin to process the last things you ate during your meal, your stomach will be able to start digesting faster since it's already been working through carbs and protein meaning you should be ready for dessert faster than if you were to start with fiber and end with carbs. Speaking of dessert...
Tip 4: You always have room for pie.
Sweet foods do not make us feel full in the same way savory foods do, so go ahead and eat that piece of pumpkin pie! Even if you feel pretty full, it's unlikely that pie is going to be the food that puts you over the edge since sweet foods fill us up less than savory foods. Plus, who doesn't want pie on Thanksgiving?
Tip 5: Work in shifts of 60-90 minutes.
If you're the type of person to go back for seconds, try to wait around 60-90 minutes before tackling another plate of food. Your stomach will be able to fit more this way because it will have had enough time to move the last bite you ate into your intestines meaning you'll be able to start the whole process over again.
Tip 6: Try to avoid napping immediately after dinner.
While a nap is one of the staples of a good Thanksgiving in my opinion, try not to nap right after you get done eating. Standing up and moving around for a few minutes will help your body digest food faster and help you feel better when you wake up. If you lay down right after eating, your stomach will be turned on it's side meaning it's going to take a lot longer and a lot more effort for it to digest all the food you consumed. Do yourself a favor and take a lap or two before you nap. You'll thank me later.
So those are my tips for how to eat your best on Thanksgiving. I hope they help you tackle all the delicious food on your plate and help eliminate any food waste that may otherwise occur this year (although, if you've been throwing out leftovers you've made a big mistake). Happy eating and happy Thanksgiving everyone!