How to Navigate Thanksgiving Dinner

Gourmet, Romulo YanesSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

Just by being more mindful of how you eat this year at Thanksgiving, you can still enjoy ALL your favorite dishes without wishing you didn't when you are done. Try these tips and tricks for navigating the Thanksgiving spread to enjoy the stuffing (and dessert!) without that overstuffed feeling.

START WITH BREAKFAST:
It may be tempting to skip breakfast on Turkey Day, but this will only make it more likely that you will overeat. Instead of skipping breakfast, try a light yet filling meal like lowfat yogurt, fruit and a piece of whole-wheat toast. This will help jump-start your metabolism and prevent you being overly hungry and thus overeating when it's time to enjoy the feast.

See more: Foods That Fight Belly Bloat


LOOK BEFORE YOU FILL:
Our eyes tend to get bigger than our stomachs when we go through a buffet line, and Thanksgiving spreads are no different. But before you begin to fill your plate with food, survey your options and choose just the items you really want to eat. You'll feel more satisfied at the end of the meal and not even notice you skipped a dish or two that you may have thought you originally wanted.

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TRY USING A SMALLER PLATE:
What if you do want to try a little bit of everything, but you don't want to overdo it? Use a salad plate, if available. A smaller plate means automatic portion control. No salad plates in sight? Aim to fill the inner section of your plate, without serving any food onto the outer edge of the plate.

WAIT 20 MINUTES BEFORE GRABBING SECONDS: You already know that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to signal that your stomach is full. This is because it takes about this much time for receptors in your gut to promote the release of certain hormones that tell your brain it's time to stop eating. So this year, wait at least that long before getting seconds. You may find that you don't really want them after all.

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GET YOUR EXTRAS TO-GO: If you don't want to hurt your hostess's feelings when she offers you an extra helping, tell her it is soo good, you'd like to take it with you so you can enjoy it later. Most likely, she will be more than happy to send you a serving to-go.

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