How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    On Thanksgiving, the majority of the day is dedicated to preparing delectable dishes for the big holiday feast. On this day, there is always a strong temptation to eat every food item that you put on your plate. Mouth of the River will share some tips on how to successfully survive Thanksgiving dinner.


Tip 1: Eat throughout Thanksgiving Day.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    On Thanksgiving Day, you may think it is a good idea to deprive yourself from food while waiting for the Thanksgiving meal. However, your body needs fuel and nutrients to function properly and perform important bodily processes such as, regulating your heartbeat and transporting nutrients to the various cells in your body. From this, make sure you eat throughout the day so you are not hangry or feeling drowsy while preparing the Thanksgiving feast, or while carrying on the tradition of playing a family football game.


Tip 2: Wear something loose, but elegant to dinner.


    During dinner, people often eat more food than normal because there is a surplus of dishes available. According to research done by the Calorie Control Council, on average, people consume around 4,500 calories on the night of Thanksgiving. When an immense amount of food is consumed, your stomach often becomes bloated. If this is a worry or concern of yours, then wear a loose article of clothing to dinner to potentially hide your bloated or full stomach. Laurel Gordon (‘19), who loves Thanksgiving, mentioned that she usually wears leggings and a sweater on Thanksgiving. “I definitely wear leggings as a strategy, so I can eat more without my pants restricting me,” she said.


Tip 3: Enjoy an appetizer before Thanksgiving dinner.

Processed with VSCO with oc preset

    Before dinner, eating appetizers is a great way to prepare your taste buds for the delicious meal that will follow. Snacking on some appetizers will also prevent you from going into dinner with an empty or growling stomach. Becca Shay (‘19), who greatly enjoys Thanksgiving, noted that, “appetizers are good to have so you don’t starve while waiting for the main meal.” Eating appetizers could also help prevent overeating or eating your meal too fast, resulting in a stomachache. However, be sure not to eat too many appetizers and spoil your dinner; leave a good amount of room for the delicious Thanksgiving meal.


Tip 4: Take little portions of every food item for your first serving.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    You may feel tempted to completely fill your plate with food for your first serving. However, taking little portions of every food item will allow you to try everything without becoming too full. This way, you will have ample amount of room in your stomach to go back for seconds. Shay stated that, “I like to get a taste a of everything. I feel out what I like and don’t like and then go back for the food that really hit home for my seconds.”


Tip 5: Do not be afraid to go back for seconds.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    During dinner, definitely go back for seconds. This holiday only comes once a year and the traditional dishes served, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, are always the best on Thanksgiving Day. From this, make sure you try everything and go back for what you thought was the most delicious. However, when you go back for seconds, make sure you are not too generous with the servings you put on your plate; you want to ensure you have room for dessert.


Tip 6: Be sure to pace yourself throughout the course of the meal.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    Because Thanksgiving food is so delicious, people often scarf all of their food down in record speed. According to the article, “Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast” done by Kathleen M. Zelman, the time it takes from when you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness is about twenty minutes. From this, the faster you eat your meal, the less time the brain has to send out signals amongst your body telling you that you are full. Additionally, if you eat too fast, you can suffer from indigestion or a feeling of heartburn. Therefore, eat one or two servings of food on your plate, then wait a few minutes until you continue to eat. If you go back for seconds, make sure to wait for a few minutes so your first serving of food has time to digest. Pacing yourself throughout the course of the meal will allow you to truly enjoy and savor every flavor.


Tip 7: At dinner, be sure to drink a beverage to accompany your meal.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    A simple, but enjoyable beverage to accompany your meal is water. According to a Healthline article, “Drinking Liquids with Meals”, liquids can help with the digestion process. The article stated that, “liquids help break down large chunks of food, making it easier for them to slide down your esophagus and into the stomach. They also help move food matter along smoothly, preventing bloating and constipation.” The article also noted that, “drinking water with meals can also help you pause between bites, giving you a moment to check in with your hunger and fullness signals. This can prevent overeating.” From this, drinking water helps to wash down your food and prevent an extreme feeling of fullness.


Tip 8: After dinner, help your family clean up and wash the dishes.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    Helping your family clean up will speed up the process and will allow for more relaxation time. In addition, you may even work up a sweat while washing the dishes, which could better prepare you for dessert. Try to prevent yourself from eating the food remains that may be left at the bottom of the pots and pans. Eating the remains will not help with your digestion processes or your feeling of fullness.


Tip 9: After everything is cleaned up, wait a while before you have dessert.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    You want to make sure you have ample amount of time to digest before you indulge in some delicious dessert. “I always wait in between dinner and dessert no matter what,” mentioned Shay. “I want to be able to enjoy my dessert and not be so full that it is an awful experience.” The amount of time it takes food to digest varies from person to person, however the more time you wait, the more time your body will have to digest. During this time, you can play a board game or a card game with your family members or just simply talk and relax. You can even take a power nap between dinner and dessert if you are so inclined.


Tip 10: When it is time for dessert, do not be too generous with your servings.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

    On Thanksgiving, there are often a variety of desserts available. You will most likely feel tempted to try everything, however try your best to pick one or two desserts from the five or six that may be at your fingertips. If you consume a great amount of dessert, the likelihood of getting a stomachache is high because the body usually has a hard time digesting sugar when consumed in large amounts. Also, do not forget to pace yourself when eating dessert and try to prevent yourself from going back for more no matter how good it may be. The key is to try to set a clear stopping point.


Tip 11: When you are all done eating for the night, just relax.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

    According to the Livestrong article, “Is Going to Bed on Full Stomach Unhealthy?”, “the easiest way to prevent the adverse effects that occur when you lie down after eating, is to avoid reclining for at least three hours after eating a large meal.” From this, relaxing for a while after you are done eating will allow your body to settle and digest. “I always find myself tired after I have eaten. I usually sit on the couch [after dinner],” said Shay. Utilizing the time to relax after eating could also potentially prevent extreme intestinal discomfort and any sleep disruptions involving an uneasy stomach.


Tip 12: Be sure to have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday, it only comes once a year.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

    On Thanksgiving Day, make sure you enjoy the food, the friends, and the family. You should take advantage of what this holiday brings, such as, family bonding, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. In addition, make sure you and your family continue your Thanksgiving traditions and build upon your past Thanksgiving memories.


    After reading, do you feel you are prepared to survive Thanksgiving dinner? Now, you need to ensure you watch out for any horrific Thanksgiving incidences, such as the ones that happened to the individuals below, on Thanksgiving Day.


Maria Rosi explains how she had to drive six hours in a car with a stomach bug on the day before Thanksgiving.


Meredith Freeman-Caple explains how her patio almost entirely burned when frying the turkey.


Maddy Alphonse (‘19) explains how she woke up with a migraine on Thanksgiving.


Amelia Concannon (‘19) explains how she and her family had to cook their turkey at a friend’s house because their power was out.


Jacqueline Coxen (‘19) explains how she and her family had to spend Thanksgiving in the airport.


Juliet Clark (‘19) explains how her dog nearly ate the turkey.


Wyatt Carlson (‘19) explains how he and his family had to cook their turkey at their grandmother’s house because their power was out.


Written by Abby Schmitt