“I don’t feel unhealthy; I feel American.”
These words said by Aaron Eddy, a freshman from Wilmar, Minn., are the sentiments many have regarding overeating on Thanksgiving.
For some, overeating on Thanksgiving is not a problem.
“I don’t overeat,” said Bekah Kelly, a counseling graduate student from Lakeville, Minn. “We do lots of activities outside after the meal, so we can’t overeat. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of turkey, so it’s not hard for me.”
But for others like Eddy, Thanksgiving becomes a time to eat too much.
“I absolutely overeat,” said Eddy. “It’s all so good.”
However, Thanksgiving should not be a holiday of overeating.
“Thanksgiving does not have to be a time of binging,” said Jessica Remington, SDSU dietitian. “If you eat to the point of feeling sick or feeling like you need to unbutton your jeans, then you ate too much.”
There are ways to make sure you do not overeat even before the meal has started.
“Before taking everything on the Thanksgiving table, try to take an inventory of everything that is there,” said Remington. “Taking inventory of the food will allow you to decide what foods you really want to eat, so you can make sure you get those before the ones you don’t care as much about eating.”
Other techniques to prevent overeating include using a smaller plate, choosing foods that are only available during Thanksgiving and eating slowly to limit food intake.
“Try to put your fork down between every bite and enjoy the conversations going on around you,” said Remington. “You will be more likely to notice that feeling of fullness and know when to stop eating.”
There are even post-meal precautions that people can take to avoid excessive eating.
“Stand away from the food tables at Thanksgiving parties, and when you are finished eating, get rid of your plate and maybe even chew on some gum to keep your mouth busy,” said Remington.
For those who attend multiple Thanksgiving meals on the same day, overeating seems unavoidable, but it can be avoided.
“Think about what you know will be offered at each meal,” said Remington. “If you know Grandma will be serving both ham and turkey, and Mom will be serving turkey, don’t go for both meats at Grandma’s meal.”
Remington does not recommend that students skip one meal in order to “save up” for another.
“This will likely cause you to be extremely hungry and overeat, and it also messes up your metabolism.”
Thankfully, students need not fear because desert is not off limits.
“If you absolutely need that pie at the end of the meal, be sure to not eat until you are overfull,” said Remington.